NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The longtime leader of the New York City Ballet is retiring in the midst of a sexual misconduct investigation.

Peter Martins wrote a letter to the company’s board of directors Monday, saying the scandal “exacted a painful toll on me and my family.”

The 71-year-old continues to deny sexually harassing or abusing members of the company, including dancers. He says he’s been the subject of news articles reporting largely anonymous and decades-old accusations.

City Ballet announced last month Martins would take a leave of absence from the company and its School of American Ballet amid an independent investigation. The company hired a law firm to conduct the investigation after receiving an anonymous letter accusing Martins of harassment.

Read More: Anonymous Letter Alleges Sexual Harassment By New York City Ballet Leader Peter Martins; Investigations Launched

Martins says he “cooperated fully” in the investigation.

“I believe its findings would have vindicated me,” he wrote in his letter to the board.

He says he decided it was time for him to retire in order to “bring an end to this disruption which has enveloped the Ballet and the Schoool.”

Board Chairman Charles Scharf heaped praise on Martins for his work but said the investigation would continue.

“We thank Peter for his tremendous contributions to New York City Ballet as ballet master in chief for over three decades, leading the Company to exceptional artistic heights and accomplishments,” Scharf wrote in a statement. “At the same time, the board takes seriously the allegations that have been made against him and we expect the independent investigation of those allegations to be completed soon.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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