Conductor James Levine Being Investigated For Sexual Misconduct

James Levine is now getting a new position at Ravinia.

A police report obtained by the New York Post reveals that famed Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine is alleged to have molested an Illinois teenager over the course of several years, nearly leading the victim to the point of suicide.

In a written statement to the Lake Forest, Illinois Police Department, the victim says “I began seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, without really understanding I was really ‘seeing’ him. It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide. I felt alone and afraid. He was trying to seduce me. I couldn’t see this. Now I can.”

The victim’s claims were brought to the police department in 2016, nine years after the statute of limitations on potential child sex crimes had expired. The findings of the police depart have been turned over to the Lake County State’s Attorney; a spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney has said that the case is still under review, with no charges being laid against Levine at this time.

The abuse is purported to have begun when the victim, who had known Levine since he was a child, began attending the Ravinia Music Festival, where Levine served as music director for over 21 years, without the supervision of his parents. Levine is said to have taken an interest in the victim, showering him with attention, gifts, and $50,000 in cash as the years progressed. “He started holding my hand in a prolonged and incredibly sensual way,” says the victim of one encounter in 1985 after Levine had driven him home. “I was not aroused as I never was during my relationship with him as I am a heterosexual individual. But there were some feelings of affection and mostly confusion. … I was very uncomfortable with the hand holding.”

From there things only worsened as the victim went on to describe incidents where Levine is alleged to masturbate in front of him as well as fondle the victim’s penis. Included in the police report is a letter of recommendation Levine wrote, on Metropolitan stationery, for the victim who is described as “exceptionally responsive and concentrated, curious and eager to learn.”

In 1993, the victim finally revealed to his mother what had taken place over the years. After contacting a former Met board member, Beth Glynn, the victim was advised to call the police. Lake Forest Police Detective Wendy Dumont learned, after contacting classical music blogger Greg Sandow, that three men had come forward to accuse Levine of sexual abuse in prior years, one of whom being the victim in question. Sandow would tell the police that “The rumors of [Levine’s] alleged abuse have been widespread for decades and in my experience they seemed to be widely believed inside the classical music field though I’ve never heard anyone cite anything specific.”

While nothing has yet been confirmed, despite multiple requests for comment, James Levine, his New York agent, as well as a spokesman for the Metropolitan have yet to respond.

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About the Author

Logan Martell
Logan Martell is a senior at Fordham University pursuing a degree in Medieval Studies. His passion for storytelling has led to opportunities studying under Broadway luminaries as he strives to take his work to ever-higher levels.

1 Comment on "Conductor James Levine Being Investigated For Sexual Misconduct"

  1. I have no idea whether or not this particular accusation is true by my own experience with Levine, as an apprentice artist in my 20’s at the MET, give me no reason to doubt them. Luckily, I was an adult at the time that “Jimmy” turned his attentions to me and did not allow them to escalate beyond sexual harassment. The described modus operandi, however, rings true: dinners at Cafe des Artistes and Shun Lee, late night calls and unexpected visits to my NYC apartment (deflected by telling him I had a “friend” (yes, I am gay) with me when he’d drop by), invitations to the Deer Park Inn after performances with him at the Ravinia Festival (declined), even the verbal style of seduction described by the alleged victim (in other breaking reports). That the MET’s administration knew what he was up to is not to be doubted, because I told them at the time and for which I paid the price of becoming persona-non-grata at the company. Never performed there again. It was not a pleasant experience, to say the least, and negatively colored my career enthusiasm ever after.

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