Political science professor David Epstein, 46, was charged Thursday with having a sexual relationship with his daughter, 24.
He was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with one count of incest in the third degree at an arraignment hearing on Thursday. According to police, the relationship appears to have been consensual.
Epstein declined to comment when reached on his cell phone Thursday evening. His wife, a tenured professor at Columbia, also declined to comment when reached by phone.
According to a University spokesman, Epstein is now on administrative leave and is no longer teaching students. His defense attorney, Matthew Galluzzo, said the public should remember that Epstein has not yet been convicted.
“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,” he said.
Galluzzo said Epstein is no longer in custody and a trial date has not yet been set.
“We’re asking his friends in the Columbia community to support him and give him the benefit of the doubt,” he said.
An update on Epstein’s Facebook account says he is no longer listed as married.
Epstein is currently teaching a lecture class called “Scope and Methods,” as well as a class titled “Research Topics and Game Theory.”
Raahi Sheth, CC ’11, an economics and political science major—who had an Epstein as a major adviser—said he was surprised to hear of the allegations, since Epstein has always been helpful.
“He’d always been fairly jovial,” he said. “He seemed to be a very nice guy.”