Conductor James Levine Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Illinois
Illinois law enforcement officials announced Friday that there will be no criminal charges brought against conductor James Levine, who has been accused of sexual abuse.
According to lawmakers, the abuse is said to have occurred in the summers of 1986 and 1987, which would have made Levine's accuser sixteen and seventeen at the time of the incidents - then the age of consent according to Illinois state law.
Lake Forest Police Department released a statement: "As such, even if it were possible to establish the alleged acts took place, they do not constitute a criminal offense under the applicable law,"
The office added, "It is important to note that since the time these acts are alleged to have occurred, Illinois law has raised the age of consent to 17. Also, there is now a provision in Illinois law raising the age of consent to 18 in cases wherethe suspect is in a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim. No similar legal protection existed during the time frame in which these acts are alleged to have occurred."
The decision comes on the heels of a The New York Times article which published interviews with three men who said that the revered conductor had sexually abused them as teenagers. A fourth accuser came forward following the article's publication.
In light of the allegations, Levine has been suspended from all Met activity, pending an ongoing investigation. Conductor replacements have been announced for forthcoming productions.
At a luncheon with Met patrons and donors, general manager, Peter Gelb, addressed the controversy, stating, "As everyone in this room knows, The Met has recently been facing a very painful and challenging trial. But while the Metropolitan Opera has been shaken, it still stands strong."
The Met released the following statement regarding the issue:
The Metropolitan Opera announced today that it is suspending its relationship with James Levine, pending an investigation, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct committed by Mr. Levine that took place from the 60's to the 80's, including the earlier part of his conducting career at the Met.
Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season. The Met has appointed Robert J. Cleary, former United States attorney and currently head of the investigations practice at Proskauer Rose, to lead a full and complete investigation into the relevant facts.
"Based on these new reports, the Met has made the decision to act now, while we await the results of the investigation," said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager, whose actions are fully supported by the leadership of the Met Board and its Executive Committee. "This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected."
There will be no further comments or statement regarding this issue from the Met at this time.
Over the course of his career, Levine has conducted more than 2,560 performances at the Met in a broad-ranging repertory. He served as the company's Music Director from 1976 to 2016 and retired at the end of 2016 to become the Met's first Music Director Emeritus.
Photo by Adam Nemser-PHOTOlink