Dutoit steps down from Royal orchestra amid sex allegations

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Charles Dutoit has stepped down as artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra after multiple allegations of sexual assault, the orchestra said today.

The renowned conductor's departure had been scheduled for October 2019, but the London-based orchestra said in a statement his departure was effective immediately. The decision, made jointly with Dutoit, followed an emergency board meeting and ongoing dialogue with the conductor, according to the statement.

Multiple symphonies distanced themselves from the 81-year-old Dutoit after The Associated Press reported Dec. 21 three opera singers and a classical musician had accused him of sexually assaulting them between 1985 and 2010. His office has said there is no truth to the allegations.

The women had said Dutoit sexually attacked them on the sidelines of rehearsals and performances with orchestras in five cities – Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

In his earlier statement, Dutoit said, "Whilst informal physical contact is commonplace in the arts world as a mutual gesture of friendship, the serious accusations made involving coercion and forced physical contact have absolutely no basis in truth."

None of the accusers filed formal complaints because, they said, they were young and feared their careers could be harmed by speaking out.

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