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Opera Star David Daniels, Husband Plead Guilty to Sexual Assaulting Young Man

Opera Star David Daniels, Husband Plead Guilty to Sexual Assaulting Young Man

David Daniels and Scott Walters

The two reached a plea deal in a case involving an assault on a graduate student in Houston in 2010.

Opera star David Daniels and his husband, Scott Walters, pleaded guilty Friday to the sexual assault of a young man in 2010.

Daniels and Walters reached a plea deal as their trial was about to begin in Harris County Court in Houston, the Houston Chronicle reports. The deal means the two men will avoid jail time.

Each pleaded guilty to sexual assault of an adult, which is a second-degree felony, and they will be on probation for eight years and have to register as sex offenders, according to The New York Times.They will therefore not be prosecuted for the first-degree felony of aggravated sexual assault. They also are barred from contact with the victim.

That victim, Samuel Schultz, released a statement saying, “I am glad that the defendants have acknowledged by their guilty pleas the truth of my traumatic experience, and that this portion of my nightmarish ordeal has finally concluded.”

Schultz met the men when he was a 23-year-old graduate student at Rice University in Houston. Daniels, a famed countertenor, was appearing in Xerxes at the Houston Grand Opera at the time. Schultz said that after he attended a performance, he went to a cast party, and then Daniels and Walters invited him to their apartment. He said that at the apartment, the couple drugged and raped him. He lost consciousness and was bleeding from his rectum when he woke up, he said.

Schultz, an aspiring opera singer, said he did not report the incident at the time because he feared it would hurt his career. He first went public about the matter in 2018, and Daniels and Walters were arrested in 2019.

Until Friday, the couple had maintained their innocence, saying they had consensual sex with Schultz.

Before the arrest, Daniels was best known as one of the world’s leading countertenors. Countertenors have a high vocal range and take parts once sung by castrati or mezzo-sopranos.

He appeared on prominent opera stages around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. He starred in productions such as Giulio Cesare and Oscar,playing Oscar Wilde in the latter. He had also been a tenured professor at the University of Michigan but lost that job after his arrest.

He and Walters, a conductor, were married in 2014, with the ceremony officiated by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a devotee of opera.

Pictured, from left: David Daniels and Scott Walters

If you find yourself in crisis, there are resources available. The National Sexual Assault Hotline, which can also refer you to a local rape crisis center, can be contacted at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) 24/7 or contact them online at There is also the LGBT National Help Center. You can reach them at the National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564 or the National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743. The Anti-Violence Project works with people who are LGBTQ+. Their hotline is 212-714-1124.

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