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Harvard Comes Clean On Jeffrey Epstein’s Relationship With The University

Harvard Comes Clean On Jeffrey Epstein’s Relationship With The University

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail in 2019 while facing new charges of sexual assault, had extensive ties to Harvard University and donated $9.1 million to the institution, some of which Harvard has been sitting on until now.

Harvard
Harvard comes clean on Jeffrey Epstein’s relationship with the university. One of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard has been sitting on donations from the convicted pedophile. This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

One of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard has donated nearly $210,000 left over from $9.1 million Epstein gifted it to organizations that support victims of sex trafficking and assault, Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said Friday in a letter to the Harvard community.

Epstein was convicted in 2008 for charges including one of that involved soliciting and paying an underage girl for sex. His name has been linked to friendships with President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of Britain, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, and actor-director Woody Allen. Epstein was arrested again in July 2019 on federal charges of child sex trafficking. He died in jail. The official cause of death was suicide.

Harvard received $9.1 million in gifts from Epstein between 1998 and his arrest in 2008 to support a variety of research and faculty activities, Bacow said in the letter.


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No more gifts were received after the 2008 conviction, Bacow said, though not for lack of trying.

A review of the donations and Epstein’s ties to the university was published Friday in a report overseen by Harvard’s general counsel, Diane Lopez.

Lopez reported that even after Epstein’s conviction and 13-month stint in jail, “Some members of the Harvard community continued their relationships with Epstein.”

“In 2008, shortly after taking office as President, Drew G. Faust was asked to consider a new gift from Epstein,” Lopez wrote. “Though she had not heard of him at the time, after she was briefed on the nature of the allegations against him, she determined that Harvard should no longer accept gifts from him.”

In 2013, several faculty members asked Michael D. Smith, then-dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to reconsider accepting donations from Epstein.

Smith denied the request.

Epstein had his own office at Harvard and visited there more than 40 times after he was released from jail in 2010 until 2018, according to the review of the university’s ties to him.

“The report issued today describes principled decision-making but also reveals institutional and individual shortcomings that must be addressed — not only for the sake of the University but also in recognition of the courageous individuals who sought to bring Epstein to justice,” Bacow said Friday in his statement.

A hedge fund manager, Epstein molested underage girls and allegedly ran a human trafficking operation for the rich and powerful.

Epstein faced possible federal indictments for sexually abusing dozens of girls as young as 14 between 1999 and 2007. He reached a plea deal in 2008 involving watered-down allegations against him for soliciting a minor for prostitution. He served 13 months in the Palm Beach County Jail for his crimes.

Indicted again on July 8, 2019 — this time in New York for conspiracy and sex trafficking — Epstein was held in Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, accused of running a cult-like ring to prey on underage girls. He was denied bail after a search warrant revealed a fake Saudi passport and piles of cash in his safe.

Alex Acosta stepped down in July 2019 as Labor Secretary amid growing outrage over the lenient deal he gave Epstein more than 12 years ago as a federal prosecutor.

The largest of Epstein’s gifts to Harvard was $6.5 million. Given in 2003, it established Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, led by Prof. Martin Nowak.

On his visits to Harvard between 2011 and 2018, Epstein typically met with professors from Harvard and other institutions. “He generally gave Nowak the names of those he wanted to meet, and either he or Nowak invited them. The meetings most often happened on weekends. His visits ended ended ‘after a number of (Program for Evolutionary Dynamics) researchers’ complained to Nowak about them,” Boston Globe reported.

Nowak has been placed on paid administrative leave while the university investigates what he did, according to Claudine Gay, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who made the announcement in a separate letter to the university community.

Epstein was given the title of visiting fellow, designated for independent researchers, in Harvard’s psychology department in 2005. He was recommended by Prof. Stephen Kosslyn, who had received research funding from Epstein through Harvard. “Epstein lacked the academic qualifications Visiting Fellows typically possess, and his application proposed a course of study Epstein was unqualified to pursue,” the report said. He “did little” to pursue his studies and, the report said, “We found no evidence that he engaged with Harvard students.

Harvard is not the only university whose reputation has been tarnished by Epstein’s dirty money.

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In September 2019, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif admitted that he personally signed off on a donation from Epstein years after the billionaire pedophile’s conviction, sent a thank-you letter and approved the head of MIT’s Media Lab to cover up the source of the money.

Joi Ito, the former head of the MIT Media Lab resigned in September and quit the boards of several organizations after reports emerged that the lab had accepted and covered up donations from Epstein.

“It is now clear that senior members of the administration were aware of gifts the Media Lab received between 2013 and 2017 from Jeffrey Epstein’s foundations,” Reif said in a statement.