Columbia Professor David Epstein

We know that part of the appeal of Ivy League schools is the incestuous nature of the high-end job market. People like to hire their own, and if successful Ivy League graduates prefer to work with or mentor fellow Ivy League alums, then the whole Ivy system becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

See, it’s fun to talk about “incest” when you are using the word to make a creative intellectual analogy. It’s much less fun to use the word incest when you are talking about… incest. Revoltingly, David Epstein, a political science professor at Columbia University who also occasionally teaches legal seminars, has been accused of having a consensual sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. According to the New York Daily News, Epstein has been charged with a single count of felony incest.

Epstein is (or perhaps “was”) popular with his students. He was also a news commentator and occasional blogger on the Huffington Post.

I’m find myself wishing he was accused of having inappropriate sex with one of his college-aged students, or using an escort service, or having sex with donkeys, or something other than allegedly doing it with his daughter. Because that’s just a gross perversion of nature.

And now I have to make jokes about it….

BWog, a Columbia student blog, tells us about Epstein’s standing in the Columbia community:

Epstein… has received glowing reviews from past students, although these are all over five years old. He was teaching two courses this semester, ‘Scope and Methods,’ ‘Game Theory and Political Theory’ as well as a dissertation seminar, and was scheduled to teach a course on ‘Game Theory, Strategy, and Law’ in the Spring. Currently one student is enrolled in this course.

Please tell me the one student enrolled in his law class isn’t his daughter.

I have no reason to believe that it is, except for the fact that Epstein seems to like mixing his work with his family. From the Columbia Spectator:

Epstein is married to Columbia political science professor Sharyn O’Halloran. We reported on the pair in an Eye story two years ago.

Was this guy allegedly doing his daughter while his wife was working down the hall? That would be the greatest violation of the “don’t s**t where you eat” rule of all time.

Epstein’s already lawyered up. And the lawyer doesn’t want anybody to rush to judgment:

A statement from Epstein’s defense lawyer, Matthew Galluzzo: “David is a respected member of the Columbia University and national academic communities and we think he deserves privacy and respect while the investigators are investigating. We are asking people to remember that these allegations are nothing more than allegations… We’re asking his friends in the Columbia community to support him and give him the benefit of the doubt.” Galluzzo also confirmed that Epstein is not in custody anymore—he was released, and no trial date has yet been set.

I’m sure Columbia is thrilled that this Galluzzo guy is already emphasizing Epstein’s respected position within the Columbia community.

Despite the pleas from his lawyer, it seems that Columbia isn’t exactly rushing to David Epstein’s defense. From the Daily News:

University spokesman Robert Hornsby said that Epstein “is now on administrative leave and will not be teaching students.”

Teaching students isn’t Epstein’s alleged problem. And it looks like his wife has put him on “administrative leave” from his house; the Spectator reports that Epstein’s Facebook profile was recently changed to “not married.” I wonder where this guy might go if he needs a place to crash?

Eww… these accusations are too gross to contemplate.

UPDATE: Some follow-up discussion appears here.

Prof. David Epstein charged with incest with daughter [Columbia Spectator]
Breaking: Columbia Professor Charged With Incest [BWog]
Columbia professor is charged with incest, accused of bedding young relative for 3 years [New York Daily News]
David Epstein Incest Charges: Columbia Professor Charged With Sleeping With Daughter [Huffington Post]


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