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Metropolitan Opera to investigate longtime conductor after sexual misconduct allegations

NEW YORK -- New York's Metropolitan Opera will investigate allegations that its longtime conductor, James Levine, sexually abused a man for years beginning when the man a teenager.

The man told police in Lake Forest, Illinois that the misconduct started in 1985 when he was 15 and Levine was in his early 40s.

The man said Levine first held his hand in an "incredibly sensual" way. He said that the following summer, Levine lay naked with him in bed and touched his penis.

Details of the police report were first reported Saturday on the website of the New York Post.

Met officials said in a statement that Levine has denied the charges. They said the opera house will now conduct its own investigation. 

In a 1987 interview with The New York Times, Levine dismissed rumors about sexual abuse, saying there were "reports of a morals charge in Pittsburgh or Hawaii or Dallas."

"Both my friends and my enemies checked it out and to this day, I don't have the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what purpose they served," Levine told the Times. 

The 74-year-old Levine retired from the Met in April 2016.

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