A Metropolitan Opera conductor sexually abused a 15-year-old boy and continued the abuse for nearly 10 years, a lawsuit has alleged.
The victim, whose name has been withheld, nearly committed suicide due to the abuse, the New York Post reports.
The lawsuit alleges that James Levine, 74, abused the boy during his tenure as a conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival, a summer concert series held in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs.
The alleged victim, now 48, says that the abuse began when he was 15 and when Levine was 41.
The unidentified man describes how he met Levine at the Ravinia festival when he was four years old after his parents took him backstage to meet the conductor.
He told police that Levine showered him with gifts such as batons and, one evening when he was 15, drove him home. The year was 1985.
While in the car, the alleged victim states, Levine took his hand and held it ‘in a prolonged and incredibly sensual way’.
The boy, per his recollections, began to wonder about his sexuality and asked his peers: ‘Am I gay because he held my hand?’ The adult male identifies as heterosexual.
The lawsuit goes on to state how the following year, Levine took the boy to the ritzy Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest.
There, the lawsuit alleges, Levine fondled the boy’s penis.
The lawsuit states that ‘hundreds of incidents’ occurred between Levine and the boy at the Deer Path Inn.