Head of MIT research lab steps down over Jeffrey Epstein ties

Pedophile financier reportedly arranged millions in donations for university

Lily Puckett
New York
Monday 09 September 2019 00:43
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The director a prestigious research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resigned over ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

Joi Ito oversaw MIT’s Media Lab until Saturday, when L Rafael Reif, the school’s president, confirmed his resignation.

The decision comes after uproar following a New Yorker investigation into Epstein’s financial ties to the Media Lab was published Friday night.

That story revealed much stronger fundraising relationship to the pedophile financier than was previously acknowledged, as well as efforts to conceal said relationship.

Mr Reif addressed Mr Ito’s resignation in a letter to the MIT community on Saturday.

“Because the accusations in the story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation,” he wrote. “This morning, I asked MIT’s General Counsel to engage a prominent law firm to design and conduct this process.”

Mr Ito has also stepped down from the boards of The New York Times Co., the MacArthur Foundation, and the John S and James L Knight Foundation in the wake of the troubling Epstein connection.

Mr Reif said last month that Epstein donated about $800,000 (£650,000) to MIT over the course of two decades. But the New Yorker found that the disgraced financier arranged at least $7.5m (£6.1m) in donations, including $2m from Microsoft founder Bill Gates,

The New Yorker also revealed that the Media Lab continued taking gifts and anonymous donations from Epstein after he was listed as “disqualified” in its donor database.

Last week, Mr Ito said Epstein gave him $525,000 for the Media Lab and another $1.2 million for his own investment funds.

Epstein killed himself in jail in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Federal prosecutors in New York had charged him with sex trafficking and conspiracy, alleging he sexually abused girls over several years in the early 2000s.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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