Met Opera sacks James Levine after abuse probe


James Levine, the once esteemed conductor of New York's Metropolitan Opera, was sacked from the company on Monday after an in-house investigation including over 70 interviews found evidence supporting a history of sexual abuse allegations, reports The New York Times.

The Met's statement said that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

"The investigation also found that any claims or rumors that members of the Met's management or its Board of Directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated", the Met said in a statement.

Levine became a part of the Met in 1971 and has conducted over 2,500 performances within his 46-year career.

The Met said that its investigation, which was led by Robert J. Cleary, a partner at the Proskauer Rose law firm who was previously a USA attorney in New Jersey and IL, had determined that "any claims or rumours that members of the Met's management or its board of directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated".

The Met opened the investigation in December into whether Levine sexually abused an aspiring conductor since he was 15 starting three decades ago.

The Met said that more than 70 people were interviewed in their investigation.

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The man, who is now 48 and whose name has not been revealed, said the abuse continued for years and drove him to the brink of suicide.

Levine has denied the "unfounded" sexual abuse accusations.

The Met said it has "terminated its relationship" with Levine, who retired in 2016 amid failing health but until the scandal had remained a frequent presence as a conductor.

He held the position of music director emeritus and remained head of its young artists program, but was suspended on December 3 after accounts surfaced in the New York Post and The New York Times of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Opera announced that it severed ties with its longtime music and artistic director James Levine, pictured here in a 2006 photo.

Levine has not been charged with any criminal offence.