Some of Jeffrey Epstein’s former students have been remembering their former teacher in the wake of his arrest and not-guilty plea on federal sex trafficking charges in New York.
The now 66-year-old hedge fund manager is accused of paying underage girls hundreds of dollars for massages and then molesting them at various locations from 2002 through 2005.
But Epstein, who taught calculus and physics at Manhattan’s coed Dalton School on the Upper East Side in the 1970s, appears to have been a polarizing figure there with some remembering him as a caring teacher, while others say he was lousy and a creep.
Jeffrey Epstein taught math and science at The Dalton School in New York, but some former pupils noted he was particularly forward with female students
Epstein had no college degree when he was hired to teach at The Dalton School, pictured. The school is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools
Epstein was just 20-years-old when worked at the private school for two years teaching students who were just a few years younger than he was at the time, according to The New York Times.
Dalton, one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, is known for its sky-high cost with the student body being made up from the sons and daughters of New York’s richest and most influential families.
Over the last week, former students, parents and teachers have been sharing memories on him on the school’s Facebook page with some suggesting they saw red flags in his behavior decades ago.
‘He stood out as this young guy in this weird coat,’ said Karin Williams to the Huffington Post.
Epstein who was 20 at the time, was seen a charismatic teacher who at times acted more like a friend than an authority figure to students, especially girls
Williams left Dalton before her junior year in 1976, and never had Epstein as a teacher. ‘You noticed him.’
Epstein was known for his informal dress. Some students told the Post that he held casual relationships with students that he might often treat more as peers than pupils.
Williams claims that he would often be spotted surrounded by a group of female students, many of whom would be flirting with him.
Dr. Susan Cohn told the Huffington Post she remembered Epstein telling students not to stress about the class because they were all going to get A’s.
‘I didn’t learn a whole lot. He didn’t take the classes very seriously,’ said Cohn. She described Epstein as ‘smarmy’ and as someone who was there to have fun.
Epstein, now 66, was arrested last Saturday night in New Jersey facing sex trafficking charges alleging he abused dozens of underage girls in early 2000s
Although there is no suggestion anything untoward took place at The Dalton School, students from classes in the 1970s say the era as a whole was sexually permissive.
Student-faculty relationships were ‘generally seen as eyebrow-raising rather than abusive’, according to the Post.
‘What’s sickening is that a creep like Epstein took that and never let go of it,’ said an anonymous student.
‘There were a number of teachers who looked at the student body as their next meal,’ said Mark Robinson who graduated in 1974.
‘It’s a little icky; you want to have positive memories, clear, clean, nostalgic memories of your school days,’ said Robinson. ‘You don’t like to remember the things that are unpleasant. And this kind of pushes it up in your face.’
Another former student remembered Epstein showing up at a party where students were drinking, and paid most attention to the girls in hallways and classrooms.
‘I can remember thinking at the time, ‘This is wrong,’ said Scott Spizer to the Times.
‘There was a real clarity of the inappropriateness of the behavior — that this isn’t how adult male teachers conduct themselves,’ another student, Millicent Young said.
Dalton graduate Paul Grossman said that he never had Epstein in class but that he was known among students as a math whiz.
‘Everyone pretty much knew him as brilliant,’ said Grossman, who graduated in 1978. ‘None of us were surprised that when he left Dalton he made a zillion dollars in business.’
Epstein was hired by the school’s headmaster Donald Barr, the late father of Attorney General William Barr, whose office is now prosecuting Epstein.
Barr apparently used to enjoy hiring young people in their early 20s whom he thought were full or potential, but it was unusual for a teacher, like Epstein, to be hired without a college degree.
Epstein only taught at Dalton for two years before he was hired by the investment bank Bear Stearns after tutoring the chairman’s son.
Epstein left Dalton in the mid-1970s at the urging of a student’s father who arranged a meeting with the chairman of the investment bank. He later began his own money-management business, J. Epstein & Co.
In 2008, he reached a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in Florida over allegations of sex with underage girls. He was allowed to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution and served 13 months in jail. The deal also required that he reach financial settlements with dozens of his alleged victims.
Epstein nearly got another break in 2011, when the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took the unusual step of asking a judge to register him as a lowest level sex offender so he wouldn’t be required to check in with authorities every 90 days. Judge Ruth Pickholz balked, saying she had ‘never seen a prosecutor’s office do anything like this,’ and the DA’s office later reversed its position.
Federal prosecutors acknowledged earlier this week that the current charges overlap with the Florida case from more than a decade ago. But they said one count in the indictment is based entirely on New York victims.