Former BSO conductor James Levine accused of molestation

James Levine conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in 2007.
James Levine conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in 2007.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York announced Saturday that it will investigate allegations that famed conductor James Levine, who also once led the Boston Symphony Orchestra, molested an Illinois teenager decades ago.

General Manager Peter Gelb said the Met was first aware of the allegations when the alleged victim came forward to police in Illinois in 2016.

“At the time, Mr. Levine said that the charges were completely false, and we relied upon the further investigation of the police,” Gelb said in a statement provided to the Globe. “We need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. We’ll now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources.”


The statement was made just hours after the New York Post reported that Levine had allegedly molested the boy, as part of “sexual abuse that lasted for years and led the alleged victim to the brink of suicide.”

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The opera wrote Saturday on Twitter, “We are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine.”

The alleged victim, who is now 48, reported the sexual abuse to the Lake Forest, Ill., Police Department in October 2016, according to a police report obtained by The Post.

Attempts by the Globe to obtain the report Saturday night were not successful. Attempts to reach Levine through his manager were not immediately successful.

The alleged abuse by Levine, now 74 and director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, began in 1985 while Levine was guest conductor at the Ravinia Festival near Chicago, the Post reported.


The alleged victim told police Levine first fondled him when he was a teenager, at a hotel 10 miles from the festival, the newspaper reported. That hotel was the scene of “ ‘hundreds of incidents’ over the years,” the report said, according to The Post.

The statute of limitations for a potential sex crime involving a minor in Illinois expired nine years before the alleged victim came forward, according to The Post.

Police investigated the matter and turned their findings over to the Lake County state’s attorney, the Post said.

“A State’s Attorney spokeswoman told The Post Friday the case is still under review and no charges have been brought,” the newspaper said.

Attempts by the Globe to reach the Lake County state’s attorney’s office Saturday evening were not successful, but a spokeswoman for the Lake County state’s attorney’s office said in an e-mail Sunday morning that the office is reviewing the case, and referred further questions to Lake Forest police.

Jacob Carozza can be reached at