Campus

Epstein pleads guilty to misdemeanor charge of attempted incest

Court documents show that Professor David Epstein (yep, he's still a professor here), pleaded guilty on May 10 to a misdemeanor charge of attempted incest. The misdemeanor Epstein pleaded guilty to is a step down from the felony charge of incest he was originally hit with. Epstein will be placed under conditional discharge (essentially a less invasive form of probation) for one year.

Professor Epstein and his lawyer declined comment.

Comments

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Observer posted on

This topic generates a lot of passion and accusations, which is one reason why it's hard to discuss rationally. Let me just say that the New York DA's office is quite aware of the laws against child molestation, and if that were an aspect of this case I can assure you that they wouldn't be shy about bringing those charges as well. That's what makes this an unusual case; rarely is this type of act the most serious charge, let alone the only one.

There are indeed differences between family relations and work relations. But unless you can prove that incestual sex invariably ends in harm -- and throwing around terms like "never" and "always," even if you do it in all caps, doesn't count as a proof -- then the fact remains that this is the one form of consensual adult sexual relations that the law prohibits (in some states), and we should really think whether we want the government to have that kind of power.

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physphilmusic posted on

Look at all those wonderful tolerant liberals now saying "YUCK" to incest...what makes your "YUCK" any more valid than conservatives' "YUCK" to gay sex eh?

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GARY SWEAT posted on

I HAD INCEST WITH MY SISTER ALL THE TIME FROM 14 TO 23 YEARS OLD
TILL SHE GOT MARRIED.

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dave posted on

Sam - Is that the critical logic skills that your Columbia education has provided you with. Doesn't really matter what he did, he's a pretty good teacher so all is good. Eating babies, boning his own daughter,...

Wow, think much?

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dave posted on

Zach. Yeah, that's it. Incest is OK as you wrap it up.

Dude, you may want to rethink that, or are you boning sis right now

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Full Marriage Equality posted on

Consenting adults should be able to pursue love, sex, and marriage (or not) with any other adults. Either we take "consenting adults" and "right to privacy" and "my body, my choice" seriously, or we don't. A woman of age 18 can sue or be sued, go to prison for life, serve in the military, operate motor vehicles and heavy machinery, consent to sex with men or women they just met. Are we to say they can't consent to sex with a close relative?

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gulp posted on

"Are we to say they can’t consent to sex with a close relative?"

Ever heard of three-eyed babies? The shallow end of the gene pool? Do you understand that your precious definition of consenting adult goes against millions of years of evolutionary trial and error? You'd swim upstream against all that for a libertine toss in the hay with dear ol' dad?

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Zach posted on

"Ever heard of three-eyed babies?"

Ever heard of condoms? Incest became a crime before we had effective contraception methods.

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Greg Townsend posted on

@ Full Marriage Equality, you should have paid more attention in several classes - back in high school. Biology, science, child development, American Problems... You're lacking the necessary fundamentals to reason your way out of the hole you just dug for yourself.

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TMAC posted on

So... he could kill babies, rob a bank, go on a murder spree, torture small animals and generally rape, pillage and plunder - but what counts is he is a good professor? Wow. Scary stupid. Incest, whether consensual or not is illegal... and sick.

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AustrianEconomicsFTW posted on

There's northing 'fantastic' about Keynesian economics. He brainwashes students with bad economics. He should never be allowed in class again.

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Richard Cranium posted on

What a filthy disgusting human being. You think this wasn't happening her entire life? Naive dopes! She was molested as a child and now is a consenting adult!!! Liberals suck!!! And Columbia should be boycotted. Sam and Full Marriage Equality are delusional scum.

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todd posted on

what is ur proof that she was molested as a child?? don't make assumptions ur cannot prove.

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Observer posted on

What's missing from this debate is that there's a difference between what we feel is wrong and what's against the law. We don't outlaw sex that we think is icky (see Lawrence v. Texas). We don't outlaw sex where birth defects are possible (or pre-menopausal women over 40 couldn't have sex). We don't outlaw sex with power differentials or even coercive sex -- bosses don't get arrested for sleeping with their secretaries, and even professors sleeping with their students or doctors with their patients are punished within their institutions but not by the law.

In fact, nowhere else do we completely outlaw two consenting adults from having sex with each other. And nowhere else does the inherent power differential between parents and children stop them from participating in arrangements that other adults can participate in -- parents and their children can still sign contracts with each other, for instance.

So those who think this case should go the same way -- that the government has no business interfering in the most personal part of people's lives -- do have a point. In fact, I thought that conservatives were all for smaller government. Why not here?

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Anonymous posted on

I don't want to live on this planet any more...

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Whatever happened to.... posted on

consent is sexy??

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joseph posted on

Creep,creep,creepy creep.

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? posted on

No one said it wasn't consensual

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rich posted on

I hope Columbia gets rid of this guy. He is a huge liabliity for the university.

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todd posted on

why is he a "huge liability"? its not like he is going to commit incest with one of his students? oh, u think he might have sex w/ one just because?

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anon posted on

pretty sure they already did. he's not listed in any CU directory that i can find (i'm on campus), and he hasn't had a review on CULPA in over a decade. a previous spec story indicated he was administrative leave as far back as 2010 and nothing newer indicates he ever came back. i wish people would bother checking up on things before they start flaming CU as in the comments below

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Another Observer posted on

Listen: as someone who is going through an actual incest situation with my in-laws (sis-in-law is in a "consentual" position) I can tell you now that there is NO such thing as consentual incest between father and daughter.

Think about what you people are saying: that someone just woke up one day and thought "Hm, you know what? My Dad looks some damn sexy." That NEVER happens, people. Think back you how you never like to think about your parents doing the deed. Have you ever met anyone that LIKES to think that?

No. That's practically universal. In order for this guy to have even had the temerity to go for "attempted" incest, he was probably already engaging in child molestation from some time back.

How dare people here just write this off as "duh, yeah, we don't outlaw sex on other power differentials". Makes me wonder what possible motive one might have for writing such a statement. Absolute drivel. Incest is ALWAYS non-consentual. It is ALWAYS rape. You know why? Because the child has ALWAYS been conditioned to think of the behavior as "normal", and was approached when they were children. They were taken advantage of previously in an attempt to pave the road for when they are adults. It is a form of brainwashing.

I happen to have also seen the results of an adult approached by a relative when there was NO lead up. To say they got kicked to the curb in no time flat is an understatement. In THAT situation, many years ago (10+), the girl still has still never spoken with the uncle and thinks they're the scum of the earth. That is the universal reaction unless there is a mental health issue at work.

Read some psychology books and it is all in there. There are specific disorders incest causes, especially incest between parents and children. It destroys their ability to function fully in society, and makes it harder for them to find happiness with other human beings because their trust is taken away on a subconscious level. Find an incest victim and I'll show you someone that has difficulty relating to the opposite sex.

How DARE people write this off as "yeah, just another power imbalance situation". It is NOT. Children of all ages inherently look up to their parent. As if this could POSSIBLY, on ANY level be comparable to bosses sleeping with their secretaries. Makes me wonder why you would suggest that, Observer... makes me wonder indeed.

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todd posted on

I started having sex w/ my daughter when she was 17. she is not 25. she was out of my life cuz of divorce and found me. we eventually started doing it. its called Genetic Sexual Attraction.

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Sam posted on

What really matters is that David Epstein is a fantastic professor, respectful of his students. His private life has nothing to do with his teaching skills. Besides, it seems that the relationship, if true, was with a consensual adult.

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Anonymous posted on

ew jerk.. thats his daughter.

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Greg Townsend posted on

So Charles Manson, as an expert on manipulative psychological behavior, would be acceptable to you?

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joseph posted on

I cannot believe he is going to still collect a salary here.The authors of thisstory must have gotten wrong info. No way could this university keep a convicted incest perv on. no way.

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Diablitos posted on

Full Marriage Equality evades the real issue in the pseudo-liberating screed he or she posted. How can the child of a parent ever give truly free consent? A parent, the relationship that involves the closest bond of caring and nurturing one could hope for, now being put forward by this person as a potential sexual partner because it's "about consent." We don't say a child under 18 can give free consent with ANY sexual partner, regardless of what they say. Why? Because their ability to give that consent is completely undermined by their immaturity. A professor in a sexual relationship with a student regardless of the student's age is engaging in a firing offense because of the power dynamics that condition the relationship, regardless of whether or not both participants are willing. How much more with the child of a parent charged with being the one person in the world whose love brings a son or daughter from childhood to maturity? Utterly morally depraved that someone could posit this in terms of liberative politics.

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Rich Grewe posted on

It's called liberalism run amok. The same thing happened back in the 60's, but the hippies could blame it on acid and pot. What drugs are you and your concubine of a daughter using?

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Rich Grewe posted on

With lowlife liberals like these polluting America, it's no wonder Barack Obama got elected. Twice.

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Greg Townsend posted on

One would think, operative word here...that a Columbia alumnus would know the difference between what is and isn't acceptable behavior for civilized human beings. At the very least, be educated sufficiently to understand why one shouldn't do it.

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anon posted on

I can't find a single good source indicating this guy is actually still a prof. Nothing indicates he had tenure, a spec article from 2010 indicates he was on administrative leave, he hasn't had a review on CULPA since 2002, and he isn't listed at the poly sci directory.

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tom posted on

My daughter Brittany and I started having sex after we met again when she was 17 and she is now 25. No one forced her. In fact, she was the one who 'found' me.

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Matt posted on

After reading some of the comments hear, I don't think I'll ever be able to send my son or daughter to this school.

I just don't understand how anyone so "intelligent" can justify incest. It's a crime against nature and absolutely disgusting to any decent human being.

I feel sorrow for all you deconstructionists who believe otherwise.

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anon posted on

moreover he doesn't seem to have ever had tenure, which is the role that most readers are going to think of when they read "Columbia professor." the reporters writing about this story should be ashamed of their weak fact checking

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