Harvard announces review of past donations by Jeffrey Epstein

An undated photo of financier Jeffrey Epstein who died in prison in August awaiting sex trafficking charges. Harvard announced Thursday it is reviewing past donations he made to the university. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York/EPA-EFE

Sept. 14 (UPI) — Harvard University announced Thursday that it was reviewing millions of dollars wealthy financier and convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein donated to the institution over the years before his suicide death last month in federal custody.

Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow made the announcement in an email to school affiliates and a statement posted on his university webpage. Some of the funds donated by Epstein, who had been accused of sex trafficking of minors before his death, helped establish its program for evolutionary dynamics and construct a building.

“Epstein’s behavior, not just at Harvard, but elsewhere, raises significant questions about how institutions like ours review and vet donors,” Bacow said in his statement. “I will be convening a group here at Harvard to review how we prevent these situations in the future.

“Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes were repulsive and reprehensible. I profoundly regret Harvard’s past association with him. Conduct such as his has no place in our society. We act today in recognition of that fact. And we do so knowing that the scourge of sexual assault continues to demand our close attention and concerted action,” he continued.

Epstein, who developed a reputation of running in circles of the rich and powerful, made donations to Harvard from 1998 to 2007, according to an ongoing university review.

Those donations included a $6.5 million gift in 2003 to support the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, along with other gifts totaling another $2.4 million. Harvard said his gifts were made before his guilty plea for state sex crimes in Florida in June 2008.

“To date, we have uncovered no gifts received from Epstein or his foundation following his guilty plea. Moreover, we specifically rejected a gift from Epstein following his conviction in 2008,” Bacow said.

“We have also recently learned that Stephen Kosslyn, a former faculty member and a beneficiary of Epstein’s philanthropy, designated Epstein as a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Psychology in 2005. We are seeking to learn more about the nature of that appointment from Dr. Kosslyn, who no longer works at the university,” he continued.

Other Epstein ties to Harvard included prominent law professor and TV analyst Alan Dershowitz, former Harvard President Lawrence H.Summers and Dean Emeritus Henry Rosovsky.

Epstein committed suicide in a federal New York prison on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on new charges of sex trafficking minor girls. He was accused of abusing dozens of girls from 2002 to 2005.


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