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Mount Sinai to donate Epstein money to charity

Megan Henney

Mount Sinai Health System said on Friday that it will make a charitable contribution equivalent to the money it received from convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The money will go to an organization focused on preventing human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and toward the health system’s own program Sexual Assault and Violence intervention program, which provides immediate treatment and counseling to sexual assault survivors.

The hospital did not say how much money was donated by the disgraced financier.

“The Mount Sinai Health System has a deep and long-standing commitment to ensuring the health, safety, and dignity of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence survivors,” the hospital’s statement said. “Jeffrey Epstein’s reprehensible behavior is completely antithetical to these values.”

Epstein, who prosecutors alleged abused and trafficked dozens of girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida in the early 2000s, killed himself two weeks ago inside his Manhattan jail cell. He was 66.

The multi-millionaire was being held without bail pending trial on child-sex-trafficking charges.

Epstein donated the money to Mount Sinai after 2008, the year he received a cushy deal that allowed him to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution and avoid more serious charges. Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by the Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.

Mount Sinai’s decision came one day after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed in a letter that Epstein had donated about $800,000 to the university over the course of 20 years, with the money either going to the M.I.T Media Lab and M.I.T. faculty member Seth Lloyd, a physicist.

“To my great regret, despite following the processes that have served MIT well for many years, in this instance we made a mistake of judgment,” M.I.T President L. Rafael Reif said in a statement.

“To Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, on behalf of the MIT administration, I offer a profound and humble apology,” he added. “With hindsight, we recognize with shame and distress that we allowed MIT to contribute to the elevation of his reputation, which in turn served to distract from his horrifying acts. No apology can undo that. In response, we will commit an amount equal to the funds MIT received from any Epstein foundation to an appropriate charity that benefits his victims or other victims of sexual abuse.”

Lloyd and Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab, both apologized online.

Ethan Zuckerman, the director of M.I.T's media lab resigned this week over the university's connections to Epstein.

"My logic was simple: the work my group does focuses on social justice and the inclusion of marginalized individuals and points of view," he said in a statement. "It’s hard to do that work with a straight face in a place that violated its own values so clearly in working with Epstein and in disguising that relationship.”


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