NEW YORK - Peter Martins, the long-time leader of the New York City Ballet, has retired amid allegations of sexual misconduct. 

Martins wrote a letter to the company’s board of directors on Monday, saying he denies sexually harassing or abusing members of the company, including dancers.

He added the scandal had "exacted a painful toll" on him and his family.

The 71-year-old was with City Ballet for more than three decades. 

Last month, Martins requested a leave of absence while the company conducted an independent investigation.

In a statement, City Ballet says it expects to complete its probe soon, and it will begin the search for a new ballet master in chief.