The Metropolitan Opera said Saturday that it has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against longtime conductor James Levine.
“We are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine,” the Met said in a tweet on Saturday night. “We are working on an investigation w outside resources to determine whether charges of sexual misconduct in the 1980s are true, so that we can take appropriate action.”
A man, who has not been publicly identified, accused Levine of sexual abuse that began in 1985, when he was 15, and continued for years, according to a police report obtained by the New York Times and New York Post. The man originally met Levine at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill. He told police that he visited Levine on multiple occasions at a nearby hotel, where Levine asked him to remove his clothes.
“On various occasions he would ask me how I touched myself and then he would touch me the way I touched myself,” the man wrote in a statement to police, according to the Times. “I was never able to be aroused by this. But then he would masturbate himself at his bed or in the bathroom.”
Levine did not immediately respond to requests for comment made through the Met and his manager on Sunday.
“This first came to the Met’s attention when the Illinois police investigation was opened in October of 2016,” Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met, said in a statement to the Times. “At the time Jim said that the charges were completely false, and we didn’t hear anything further from the police.”
The Boston Symphony Orchestra, where Levine was a conductor from 2004 to 2011, also called the accusations “deeply disturbing” in a statement on Sunday.
Dozens of men in Hollywood, media, politics and business have been accused of sexual assault and harassment in recent weeks, following reports of sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein.