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Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after finding evidence of sexual abuse

The Metropolitan Opera in New York fired James Levine on Monday, after an investigation into the conductor's behavior found evidence of sexual misconduct and harassment.

A preeminent conductor, Levine, 74, made his debut at the Met in 1971, and went on to conduct 2,552 performances. He became artistic director in 1976, but stepped down two years ago due to Parkinson's disease, taking on a new role as the head of the young artists program. Levine was suspended in early December when several New York newspapers printed allegations of sexual misconduct against him, some going back to the 1960s.

The firm Proskauer Rose was hired to head the investigation, and the Met said that after interviewing more than 70 people, investigators "uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct toward vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority. In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met." He has not been charged with any crime. Levine's representative did not respond to The Associated Press' request for comment.