Sex accuser of late Met Opera maestro James Levine sues

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A man who accused disgraced Metropolitan Opera maestro James Levine of molesting him for years as a teen has filed a $25 million suit over the alleged abuse.

The victim — who brought the case anonymously under the name John Doe in Manhattan Supreme Court late Friday — claims he was “sexually and mentally abused” by the since-deceased legendary conductor while an underage teen and “over the course of many years,” according to court papers.

The accuser, an aspiring conductor himself at the time, says Levine began to sexually abuse him — including masturbating in front of him and kissing his penis — in 1985 when he was 15, the court documents claim.

The victim, now 52, says in his suit that the abuse continued into his adulthood. In the nine years before it finally ended in 2010, “Levine provided plaintiff with thousands of Euros, while continuing to sexually abuse him,” the suit alleges.

Levine, who died in March at age 77, “routinely connected the sexual abuse with promises of a career with the Metropolitan Opera,” the court documents allege.

The abuse took a toll on the victim, and its effects have stayed with him to this day, the court papers say.

pedestrians make their way in front of the Metropolitan Opera house at New York's Lincoln CenterThe accuser says James Levine began to sexually abuse him in 1985.AP Poto/John Minchillo, File

Within a year of 1985, “due to the sexual abuse of Levine, plaintiff’s life was turned upside down, as he was at odds with his family and extremely unhappy,” the filing claims.

The man has had to undergo years of mental health counseling, doubted his sexuality, has had suicidal thoughts and still feels “ashamed and humiliated,” the suit claims.

The accuser asserts that three other Met employees “knew there was an inappropriate relationship between plaintiff and Levine,” yet the institution did nothing to intervene, the suit says.

James Levine conducts the symphony on its opening night performance at Tanglewood in Lenox
James Levine died in March 2021.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, file

The claims in the suit match those of Ashok Pai, who has previously been identified as the man who reported his allegations to Illinois cops in 2016. A police report said Pai claimed he was first molested by Levine while guest-conducting at an event outside Chicago.

The victim’s lawyer in the lawsuit declined to confirm whether his client is Pai.

At the time Pai told police about the alleged incidents, he also supposedly informed the Met board and its general manager, who would keep Levine on until 2017, when two additional accusers against the conductor stepped forward.

The lawsuit targets Levine’ estate and the Met and is seeking at least $25 million in damages.

“James Levine used his position at the Met Opera and the Met’s facilities, resources and employees to groom and sexually abuse young boys, including our client,” the man’s lawyer, Douglas Lipsky, told The Post in a statement. “The Met knew he was doing this and did nothing.”

“For far too long, the Met has not been held accountable. This lawsuit changes that,” Lipsky said.

American pianist and conductor James Levine leans over the back of a chair in Munich, Germany 9 June 2000The victim claims he was “sexually and mentally abused” by James Levine as an underage teen.Frank Mîchler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The plaintiff was able to file his case under New York Child Victims’ Act look-back window, which allowed people who had claims of childhood abuse to sue their suspected assailants and the institutions that allegedly protected them even if the claims were old and had passed beyond the statute of limitations.

The window closed Saturday, the day after the suit was filed.

The Met did not immediately return a request for comment.

After Levine was ousted from the Met, he sued the opera house for alleged wrongful firing, claiming the accusations against him were baseless. That case settled in 2019, though the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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