Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

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John F
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:01 am

Nor is the fact that except for the first one, all who have come forward to accuse Levine have been 17 or older. In their cases I suppose the relevant charge would be sexual harassment rather than child molestation. Which may be immaterial anyway if the statute of limitations for criminal charges and perhaps also for civil liability has been met.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:33 am

John F wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:51 am
For years, James Levine has earned about $2 million a season from the Met alone, and more from his music directorships at Ravinia, Munich, and Boston. Ten years ago the BSO paid his company Phramus Inc. nearly $1.6 million for his first season with them. He also earns substantial royalties on his many, many recordings and DVDs of operas and orchestral repertoire, the movie "Fantasia 2000," and so on. As far as I know, his lifestyle is pretty frugal, he doesn't fritter all that money away on the usual accoutrements of the rich and famous - no Hollywood mansions, no yachts or jets, no private Caribbean islands, etc. Levine has always kept his private life very private indeed, and I've found no estimates of his net worth, but even after taxes it must be enormous for a classical musician. The victims of his alleged sexual harassment may well bring civil suits against him - in litigious America that's almost routine - and they may win, but I don't think that's likely to come near bankrupting him, however else it may harm him.
If the abuse/harassment is as widespread as has been suggested there may well be a class action in which case the extent of the wealth you mention is very vulnerable. A person earning that amount of money does not have yachts, jets or Caribbean islands. That just simply isn't enough income for that lifestyle, especially after taxes. We shall see whether he is bankrupted, but it wouldn't be that difficult a thing to do once lawyers jump on board and would also be contingent upon the number (if any) of litigants. In fact, it's the very rich in the category you mention who actually have the capacity to hide their money offshore and protect it from threats.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:35 pm

Updates:
-- Another Levine accuser steps forward.
-- Ravinia Festival severs all ties.
-- Juilliard School cancels February concert.
-- Cincy May Festival cancels.
-- Met announces conductor Emmanuel Villaume for Tosca.
-- Met GM Peter Gelb embattled as general public and donors react.
_________________________________________________________

Met Opera Reels as Fourth Man Accuses James Levine of Sexual Abuse

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/arts ... opera.html

By Michael Cooper
Dec. 4, 2017

As the Metropolitan Opera reeled from the suspension of its longtime conductor James Levine over sexual misconduct accusations, a fourth man came forward Monday saying that Mr. Levine had sexually abused him decades ago, when the man was a student.

Met officials scrambled to deal with the cascade of accusations, emailing donors to assure them that the Met will be taking “all appropriate actions” — even as the opera house came under sharp criticism for not investigating Mr. Levine after learning in 2016 of a police inquiry into a report of sexual abuse against him.

The Ravinia Festival also announced Monday night that it had “severed all ties” with Mr. Levine, its former music director, who had planned to begin a five-year term as conductor laureate in the summer of 2018. “We are deeply troubled and saddened by the allegations and sympathize with everyone who has been hurt,” the festival said in a statement.

The man who made the new accusations Monday, Albin Ifsich, said he had been abused by Mr. Levine beginning in 1968, when Mr. Ifsich was 20 and attending the Meadow Brook School of Music, a summer program in Michigan where Mr. Levine was a rising star on the faculty. He said that the abuse continued for several years after he joined a tight-knit clique of young musicians who followed Mr. Levine in Cleveland and later New York.

Mr. Ifsich — who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra — recalled visiting Mr. Levine’s dorm room one night to discuss problems the student was having with his bow arm. “And then he says, ‘If we’re going to work on your violin I have to understand you sexually,’” Mr. Ifsich said. The abuse began with Mr. Levine exposing himself and engaging in masturbation.

Two other men told The Times this weekend that Mr. Levine masturbated them when they were students at Meadow Brook as well. Another man said that Mr. Levine abused him as a teenager beginning in the mid-1980s.

A representative for Mr. Levine declined to comment Monday night on Mr. Ifsich’s account.

The accusations against Mr. Levine led the Met to suspend him on Sunday night while it opened an investigation into his behavior, and to cancel his upcoming appearances, including in a high-stakes new production of Puccini’s “Tosca” on New Year’s Eve.

News of his suspension jolted the opera world, where Mr. Levine is considered one of the finest conductors ever, and raised questions about what was known by the Met and other institutions that employed him over the years.

In the email to Met donors, Ann Ziff, the chairwoman of the Met’s board of directors, and Judith-Ann Corrente, its president and chief executive officer, wrote that they had been “deeply disturbed” by the reports about Mr. Levine. A recipient of the email shared it with The Times on Monday night.

“Together with general manager Peter Gelb, we are committed to a complete investigation of the allegations against Mr. Levine, and we would like to assure you and all of the Met’s loyal donors that the company will be taking all appropriate actions,” the two Met officials wrote in the email. “We also want to assure you that we will never lose focus on our artistic mission to continue to deliver performances of the highest artistic level to our audience.”

Some opera lovers and others took to social media to question whether the Met knew about troubling behavior by Mr. Levine and why Mr. Gelb and other leaders did not investigate him before now, given disturbing rumors about his private life that had long circulated in music circles.
so is Peter Gelb going to face any consequences for ignoring the police report about this for an entire year until all this public scrutiny happened? — BrinSolomon (@nonstandardrep) Dec. 4, 2017

You have known for years. You were and are complacent and an accessory because you did nothing. — Nanci Boice (@sbnanci) Dec. 4, 2017
Mr. Gelb, in an interview, dismissed rumors circulating online that the Met had reached settlements in the past with the families of abuse victims as untrue.

“Since I’ve been at the Met there has not been a single instance of somebody coming forward to make a complaint, ever, about Levine in recent Met history,” Mr. Gelb said. “And if you talk to the previous general managers about their watches, they say the same.”

“There have been no complaints and no settlements, and this has been verified by the Met’s finance office, our development office,” he said.

Mr. Gelb was contacted in October 2016 by a detective from the Lake Forest, Ill., police department who asked him about an official complaint filed by Ashok Pai, the man who accused Mr. Levine of abusing him as teenager in the mid-1980s. Mr. Gelb said Mr. Levine had denied the accusation, and the Met had decided to await the outcome of the police investigation before taking action. The Met began its own investigation this weekend when news of the police report was made public, and it learned that there could be other accusations coming.

The news shook the opera house Monday. The musicians of the Met’s orchestra met during a break in their rehearsal of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” to discuss — and try to make sense of — the accusations against Mr. Levine, whom many revered. They also applauded the courage of, and expressed sympathy for, the men who came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine had abused them, said Jessica Phillips, a clarinet player who leads the orchestra committee.

“I think the general feeling is of anguish,” Ms. Phillips said.

After Mr. Levine’s suspension, two important unions at the Met — Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents its orchestra, and the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents its choristers, soloists, stage managers, directors and dancers – issued statements that pointedly noted the Met’s obligation to provide a safe workplace.

Mr. Gelb spent much of the weekend dealing with the fallout from the accusations — holding an emergency meeting of its executive committee by telephone on Sunday to discuss its decision to suspend Mr. Levine and working to find conductors to take over his canceled engagements.

He also said that the Met was fielding calls and emails from people who said that they wanted to share information about Mr. Levine.

“In general, I think people are stunned and concerned, but at the same time this company has a very strong foundation that runs very deep,” Mr. Gelb said. “As important as Jim has been as part of the company’s fabric, he did step down as music director two seasons ago, and the company has already imagined life without him.”

Several Met board members and prominent donors, reached on Monday, declined to discuss Mr. Levine or the pressures facing the Met.

On Monday, the Juilliard School announced that the accusations against Mr. Levine had led it to seek a replacement for him at a concert in February that he had been scheduled to conduct of the Juilliard Orchestra and the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by barney » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:42 am

I have some sympathy with Tommasini's ethical torment, but only a little. Whether to move handsome Levine box sets out of the living room certainly strikes me as a first-world problem. And his longing to share it with however many hundreds of thousands of readers strikes me as pretty self-indulgent.
It won't stop me admiring Levine as a conductor. We've had many discussions about whether extra-curricular activities should affect our musical regards, and it comes down to person by person, case by case.

John F
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:35 am

Really, who cares where Tommasini keeps his free review copies of Levine records, or what he thinks? But a couple of people have mentioned Levine's recordings to me, so I guess Tommasini is addressing their concerns, though not mine.

In reply, I asked them where they keep their Karajan recordings. If we're to make such decisions on moral grounds, which I say we shouldn't, then being an admitted member of the Nazi Party during the years of the Holocaust (Karajan joined not once but twice) is surely no better than what Levine is being accused of, which he has not admitted or been formally charged with.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:42 am

I'd be delighted to take those two banished Met Centennial boxes off Tommasini's hands at the right price. Unlike Tommasini, I have never enshrined Levine's recordings nor do I now in the wake of his disgrace have any problem listening to them (or HvKs for that matter). Just this week I listened to the Met's recent Verdi Requiem and a HvK/BPO 1974 London Brahms cycle.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by maestrob » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:29 pm

Levine was a great opera conductor and IMHO a good to mediocre conductor in orchestral repertoire. He also had the courage to program modern works (i.e. Moses und Aaron at the MET and music by Charles Wuorinen during his abbreviated tenure in Boston). There is no question about his musicality, nor about his social skills in rehearsal. The question I am concerned with is his personal restraint, which appears to be non-existent. Abusive behavior toward those young men who depend on Levine's personal power for advancement in their careers (or to earn a living) is quite simply a character flaw that cries out for retribution; thus his dismissal. I personally have no tolerance for such behavior. I have long maintained that the MET is not a nice place to work, in spite of its occasionally great performances.

Disconnecting with Levine is a good start, but the entire culture at the MET needs to be rethought. At least it's a start.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Lance » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:38 pm

It seems Levine's situation has captivated attention world-wide. I can only imagine him walking around his NYC apartment reliving things he did in the past, now at 74. No doubt this will affect his career tremendously and he may, given his health situation, step out of things totally. I had been thinking of doing a series tribute on the radio on Levine until this news came forth. I am rethinking this, as probably many others are as well who program music over the air of on TV. His catalogue of recordings is very comprehensive right from the start of his career. It all seems such a great shame to have an artist of his caliber go out like this.
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barney
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by barney » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:23 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:04 am
Tommasini weighs in on the Levine mess. His Levine albums are to be banished from plain sight in his living room.

Should I Put Away My James Levine Recordings?
By Anthony Tommasini DEC. 5, 2017
Anthony Tommasini wrote:So what do I do with these commemorative collections? I won’t give them away. But I’m going to move them out of my living room.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/arts ... ritic.html
I posted on this yesterday, but somehow lost it.
I have only a limited sympathy for Tommasini here. We have often pondered people's extra-curricular lives in this forum, generally concluding they were not relevant to their musical performance. If anybody feels strongly otherwise, as I did for a while with Gergiev, then that's their privilege, obviously.
As for Tommasini, having to move his handsome box sets from one room to another, you could hardly find a more first-world problem. That's going to change the world! In fact, I think the article was remarkably self-indulgent.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by barney » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:25 pm

maestrob wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:29 pm
Levine was a great opera conductor and IMHO a good to mediocre conductor in orchestral repertoire. He also had the courage to program modern works (i.e. Moses und Aaron at the MET and music by Charles Wuorinen during his abbreviated tenure in Boston). There is no question about his musicality, nor about his social skills in rehearsal. The question I am concerned with is his personal restraint, which appears to be non-existent. Abusive behavior toward those young men who depend on Levine's personal power for advancement in their careers (or to earn a living) is quite simply a character flaw that cries out for retribution; thus his dismissal. I personally have no tolerance for such behavior. I have long maintained that the MET is not a nice place to work, in spite of its occasionally great performances.

Disconnecting with Levine is a good start, but the entire culture at the MET needs to be rethought. At least it's a start.
Given the post I just made about not dismissing Levine's legacy of recordings, I have to say I agree with you Brian about the need for him to go.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by IcedNote » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm

I have to admit that it's much more difficult for me to make allowances for Levine than it is for, say, Wagner or Karajan. I wonder if this is strictly because he's contemporaneous...or if there's something else going on in my head. Have to think more about it...but I can't imagine I'm the only one...?

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:13 pm

IcedNote wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm
I have to admit that it's much more difficult for me to make allowances for Levine than it is for, say, Wagner or Karajan. I wonder if this is strictly because he's contemporaneous...or if there's something else going on in my head. Have to think more about it...but I can't imagine I'm the only one...?

-G
I use Carlos Kleiber as my benchmark; he revered von Karajan above all other musicians and visited his grave often in Salzburg. This from a man whose father and mother fled Germany in 1936, with Carlos and Veronica in tow, and finally moved to Argentina, amongst other places, during the war years. And Ruth Goodrich Kleiber was a Jew. When they returned to Europe Erich Kleiber couldn't get work in Vienna (and died prematurely in Zurich at 60 years of age). I've often wondered if it was the Austrians' revenge for him 'sitting' out the war overseas and not suffering along with everybody else!!

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:16 am

IcedNote wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm
I have to admit that it's much more difficult for me to make allowances for Levine than it is for, say, Wagner or Karajan. I wonder if this is strictly because he's contemporaneous...or if there's something else going on in my head. Have to think more about it...but I can't imagine I'm the only one...?

-G
I feel about the same: For me it's partly that he is contemporaneous but mostly the fact that he has been credibly accused of taking advantage of young people, one child among them, who trusted him and whose well-being had been entrusted to him.

Still, I think highly of Levine as a musician and will continue to listen often and with pleasure to his recordings.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:33 am

IcedNote wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:13 pm
I have to admit that it's much more difficult for me to make allowances for Levine than it is for, say, Wagner or Karajan.
Why this is so, would be for you to say. But it may be because the allegations against Levine are personal and sexual, while the others are neither.

Wagner's virulent antisemitism was based on a pernicious racial theory, and he nonetheless permitted a Jew, Hermann Levi, to conduct the premiere of "Parsifal." (Actually, King Ludwig insisted on it; Wagner tried to persuade Levi to convert.) As for Karajan, he claims to have joined the Nazi Party to advance his conducting career in Germany, not because of their ideology and policies. Whether you excuse that, or indeed believe it, is up to you. Personally, I can't find either of them completely innocent, but the Holocaust doesn't come to my mind when I listen to their music or their music-making, and it certainly doesn't make me boycott them.

Back to the present day. Countless law-abiding citizens have ruined the careers and lives of young people in one way or another - parents, teachers, employers, religious. Leonard Bernstein said in 1958, “Every genius had a handicap. Beethoven was deaf. Chopin had tuberculosis. Well, someday the books will say, 'Leonard Bernstein had a father'.” :roll: But sexual offenses seem especially to trouble us, even when no physical or psychological harm is apparent, and no matter how much good the offender may otherwise have done. I wouldn't for a moment suggest this attitude is wrong, only that it's personal rather than universal, and leave it at that.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:06 am

Finally a statement from Levine-I can't imagine a lie detector test for him and others-I see them a lot since I watch Investigation Discovery shows a lot. Regards, Len


James Levine Denies ‘Unfounded’ Sexual Abuse Accusations

By MICHAEL COOPER DEC. 7, 2017


James Levine, the famed conductor and former music director of the Metropolitan Opera, issued his first response Thursday evening to accusations that he sexually abused several men decades ago when they were teenagers or his students, calling them “unfounded.”

“As understandably troubling as the accusations noted in recent press accounts are, they are unfounded,” he said in a written statement. “As anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor.”

After the first accusations began to emerge over the weekend, the Metropolitan Opera suspended its four-decade relationship with Mr. Levine on Sunday, and asked an outside law firm to investigate his behavior. Four men told The New York Times that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago. One said that he was 17 when Mr. Levine abused him in 1968 at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan, a summer program where Mr. Levine, a rising star, conducted the school’s orchestra and led its orchestral institute. Two more said that they were abused as students there that summer as well — one when he 17, the other 20 — and said that the abuse continued for several years after they joined a clique of young musicians who followed Mr. Levine to Cleveland and later to New York. A fourth man said he was abused in 1986, when he was 16, near the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, where Mr. Levine was the music director. He reported the abuse last year to the Lake Forest, Ill., police.

The Metropolitan Opera appointed Robert J. Cleary, a partner at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to investigate the accusations against Mr. Levine as it weighs his future. The company has been naming replacements for Mr. Levine’s scheduled performances.

Mr. Levine made it clear in his statement that he hopes to resume conducting.

“I have devoted my energies to the development, growth, and nurturing of music and musicians all over the world — particularly with the Metropolitan Opera where my work has been the lifeblood and passion of my artistic imagination,” he said in the statement. “My fervent hope is that in time people will come to understand the truth, and I will be able to continue my work with full concentration and inspiration.”

When asked about the statement, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, said, “It’s a sad state of affairs, but of course our investigation has to continue.”

James Lestock, 67, said on Thursday evening that he stood by his account.

“He is lying,” he said of Mr. Levine’s statement in an email. “The examples of instigating sex with a minor, physical abuse using physical pain leading to break down crying, all happened. I will take a lie-detector test. Will he?”

Mr. Lestock said that he was a 17-year-old cello student at Meadow Brook when he was abused in Mr. Levine’s dorm room. He described numerous later incidents of abuse; he said that once Mr. Levine had pinched him painfully until he cried, and then continued pinching him, to wound him.


And Chris Brown, 66, who played principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for more than three decades, stood by his account that Mr. Levine had abused him the summer before his senior year in high school, when he was 17.

“Sexual abuse at any age is inexcusable,” he said. “Further, belittling those of us who were abused as less than fully human is repugnant. I stand by the story.”

Mr. Levine issued his statement on Thursday night after the Met announced that it had found replacements for most of the operas he had been scheduled to conduct this season. The company said that Marco Armiliato would conduct the Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” and Bertrand de Billy would lead Verdi’s “Luisa Miller.”

The accusations of sexual abuse have shaken the company and opera fans. On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Gelb sought to reassure some of the company’s core supporters at a previously scheduled Metropolitan Opera Guild luncheon honoring the soprano Renée Fleming.

“As everyone in this room knows, the Met has recently been facing a very painful and challenging trial,” he told the guests who had gathered at Cipriani 42nd Street. “But while the Metropolitan Opera has been shaken, it still stands strong.”

Mr. Gelb never mentioned Mr. Levine by name at the lunch. But he emphasized that the Met was greater than any one individual, and spoke of its previous trials, including a disastrous fire in 1892 and the recession of 2008.

“The Met’s greatness is a collective effort,” he said. “It’s the grand result of thousands of artists and artisans who create operatic magic on our stage and in the pit night after night, season after season, and decade after decade.”




https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/07/arts ... collection

barney
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by barney » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:56 pm

Obviously tricky for the Met. I think they have acted appropriately, standing Levine down and starting an investigation. They certainly can't take any sides at this point. But Gelb's remarks sound as though they are preparatory to distancing the Met from Levine.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:13 am

Len posted this in the wrong thread:

James Levine Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Illinois

By MICHAEL COOPER
DEC. 8, 2017

Law enforcement officials in Illinois said Friday that they would not bring criminal charges against the famed Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine, noting that the man accusing Mr. Levine of sexual abuse there three decades ago had been 16 at the time — which was then the age of consent. “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 Lake Forest Police Department said in a statement.

The police had been investigating a complaint made last year by Ashok Pai, 48, who grew up in Illinois and said that he was sexually abused there as a teenager by Mr. Levine, who was then the music director of the Ravinia Festival, near Lake Forest. Mr. Pai accused Mr. Levine of lying naked with him in bed and touching his penis while at a hotel near the festival in 1986, when Mr. Pai was 16, beginning years of sexual contact.

Mr. Levine, 74, was suspended on Sunday from the Metropolitan Opera, his artistic home of more than 40 years, after three men — including Mr. Pai — came forward with accusations that he sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers or students of his. (A fourth man came forward on Monday with a similar accusation.) Friends and relatives of the accusers said in interviews that the men had either complained of Mr. Levine’s abuse near the time it happened or in the years since.

The Met has engaged a law firm to investigate the accusations, and replaced Mr. Levine in his upcoming engagements. Several other institutions announced they were cutting ties with him. On Thursday Mr. Levine responded to the accusations for the first time, calling them “unfounded.”

Mr. Pai, the Met and a representative for Mr. Levine declined to comment on the decision not to bring charges.

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office noted that, while Mr. Pai had been at the age of consent in 1986, the age had since changed. “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,” the office said in a statement. “Also, there is now a provision in Illinois law raising the age of consent to 18 in cases where the 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.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/08/arts ... opera.html
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:21 am

John F wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:13 am
Len posted this in the wrong thread:
Yes thanks for posting it in the proper thread-I was able to delete it from the other thread. Regards, Len

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