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 / Updated  / Source: Associated Press

NEW YORK — The longtime leader of the New York City Ballet is retiring in the midst of an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct by him.

Peter Martins wrote a letter to the company's board of directors Monday announcing his retirement.

Peter Martins at the New York City Ballet 2013 Fall gala at Lincoln Center in New York.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The 71-year-old Martins told board members he continues to deny sexually harassing or abusing members of the company. 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 during an independent investigation. The company hired a law firm to conduct the investigation after receiving an anonymous letter accusing Martins of harassment.

Board chairman Charles Scharf has thanked Martins for his contributions to the New York City Ballet but says the investigation is continuing.