Sexual Abuse Victim Sues James Levine Estate & Metropolitan Opera

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Koichi Miura/Metropolitan Opera)

Editorial Warning: This article includes some graphic imagery. Read at your discretion. 

A man who accused James Levine of molesting him for years as a teen has filed a $25 million lawsuit targeting Levine’s estate and the Metropolitan Opera.

The New York Post is reporting that the lawsuit which was filed under the name John Doe in Manhattan Supreme Court on August 13, claims he was “sexually and mentally abused” by the conductor while an underage teen.

According to the lawsuit the accuser said that Levine began to sexually abuse him in 1985 when he was 15. Per court documents, Levine masturbated in front of him and kissed his penis.

The victim added that the abuse continued into his adulthood and that nine years before it finally ended in 2010, “Levine provided plaintiff with thousands of Euros, while continuing to sexually abuse him.”

The victim, who is now 52 claimed that Levine “routinely connected the sexual abuse with promises of a career with the Metropolitan Opera.” Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the abuse made the victim undergo years of mental health counseling, doubted his sexuality, has had suicidal thoughts and still feels “ashamed and humiliated.”

In court documents, the accuser also asserts that three other Met employees “knew there was an inappropriate relationship between plaintiff and Levine” and the institution did not intervene.In a statement to the Post, the victim’s lawyer Douglas Lipsky said, “James Levine used his position at the Met Opera and the Met’s facilities, resources and employees to groom and sexually abuse young boys, including our client. The Met knew he was doing this and did nothing.”

Levine died in March 2021 after the Metropolitan Opera was fired in March 2018. He subsequently sued the Metropolitan Opera and the case was settled.