A male singer claims he was drugged and raped by opera star David Daniels in 2010, and he’s coming forward because he’s worried the Metropolitan Opera favorite may strike again.
Samuel Schultz claims Daniels and conductor Scott Walters drugged and sexually assaulted him following a performance in Houston. He awoke the next day in a strange bed, he said, in pain and bleeding from the rectum.
Then just a 23-year-old graduate student at Rice University, Schultz kept quiet about the attack because he worried it would impact his career. But after learning that Daniels made tenure at the University of Michigan, where he would work closely with young singers, he felt obligated to come forward. In July he filed a complaint with the university police department, which reached out to the Houston Police.
The New York Daily News reports the investigation is still active and no arrests have been made.
Schultz — a baritone who has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Washington National Opera and the Houston Symphony Orchestra — says the night of the assault, Daniels and Walters invited him back to an apartment in Houston where they were staying. (He remembers Daniels telling him to keep the invitation a secret so others wouldn’t be jealous.) Though normally not a drinker, Schultz says he accepted a drink to be agreeable.
He only remembers taking a few sips before blacking out.
Schultz woke up, he wrote in his police complaint, “in a bed alone, completely naked. I was sore and I didn’t know why. I made my way to the bathroom to figure out why I hurt. I was bleeding from my rectum. I became numb. I was paralyzed with fear. What had happened? How could I escape? How would I get out? Where were my clothes? I tiptoed out of the bedroom to discover that David and Scott were not there. When they came back from eating somewhere, I think they asked if I had a good time.” He claimed Daniels told him, “Don’t worry about the BB thing, I’m totally negative,” indicating they had bareback sex.
Schultz, who has since been diagnosed with PTSD, addressed the assault in an essay last month that did not name his attackers.
“I have been terrified to talk about this publicly. There was a legitimate danger of always destroying my career by reporting someone else’s assault against me. Because of this, I have lived with the fear of exclusion and being silenced.”
David Daniels is one of the biggest stars in the opera world. The New York Times wrote of the 52-year-old singer, “To say that he is the most acclaimed countertenor of the day, perhaps the best ever, is to understate his achievement.” He and Walters were married by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2014.
Both men insist Schultz’s accusations are “completely false.” Since the accusations became public, though, Daniels has deleted his Twitter account and announced a leave of absence from the University of Michigan.
Critics insist the opera world is rife with sexual misconduct, but it’s often hushed up to protect valuable stars. When both the victim and accused are male, the intransigent taboo surrounding homosexuality in opera may also cloud the issue: Accusations against Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine date back decades, but Levine only resigned in disgrace recently after the rise of the #MeToo movement.
“Because it is so taboo, men are rarely taught that rape is a word that should be used to describe something that happens to them.” says Schultz. “They are rarely educated to the reality that the word applies also to them.”