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Our Perverted Oligarchy

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Jeffrey Epstein acted as a sex pest towards teenage girls back when he was a high school teacher in the 70s:

The teacher, Jeffrey Epstein, would decades later face allegations that he coerced and trafficked teenagers for sex. At the Dalton School on the Upper East Side, some students saw Mr. Epstein as an unusual and unsettling figure, willing to violate the norms in his encounters with girls.

Eight former students who attended the prestigious school during Mr. Epstein’s short tenure there said that his conduct with teenage girls had left an impression that had lingered for decades. One former student recalled him showing up at a party where students were drinking, while most remembered his persistent attention on the girls in hallways and classrooms.

“I can remember thinking at the time, ‘This is wrong,’” said Scott Spizer, who graduated from Dalton in 1976.

He was also hired to teach at one of New York’s most elite prep schools despite lacking not only any teaching experience but a BA. The American meritocracy! He was fired after two years, and I for one would love to know what is in his personnel file.

And even after being a well-known serial molester he found himself welcomed back into Manhattan high society, with the help of attaching himself to a certain institution:

A strange thing happened when Jeffrey Epstein came back to New York City after being branded a sex offender: His reputation appeared to rise.

In 2010, the year after he got out of a Florida prison, Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos dined at his Manhattan mansion with a British royal. The next year, Mr. Epstein was photographed at a “billionaire’s dinner” attended by tech titans like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. A page popped up on Harvard University’s website lauding his accomplishments, and superlative-filled news releases described his lofty ambitions as he dedicated $10 million to charitable causes.

[…]

Though Mr. Epstein never attended Harvard or even got a college degree, the university has been a recurring theme in his self-styled image as a Renaissance man of finance and science. He found Harvard’s doors open to him once he opened his wallet, with donations starting in the early 1990s that eventually totaled at least $7.5 million.

He took to wearing Harvard sweatshirts, gravitated to mingling with celebrity scientists like Stephen Jay Gould and Steven Pinker, and developed friendships with the former Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers and the law professor Alan Dershowitz, who later helped defend him. (In civil suits, Mr. Dershowitz has been accused of having sex with two of Mr. Epstein’s accusers; he has denied the allegations and accused their lawyers of malfeasance.) Mr. Epstein, a former math teacher, even popped up for lunchtime discussions among scientists at a Harvard cafeteria, Dr. Pinker said in an interview, adding, “He weighted his own opinions as much as scholarly literature.”

[…]

A few months later, Ms. Siegal threw the dinner party at Mr. Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion for Prince Andrew, giving Ms. Couric, Mr. Stephanopoulos, Chelsea Handler and others a chance to speak to a member of the royal family a few months before the much-anticipated wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“It was just one of those strange nights,” Ms. Handler said in an interview. Ms. Siegal had not emphasized who was hosting, several guests recalled. “The invitation was positioned as, ‘Do you want to have dinner with Prince Andrew?’” Ms. Siegal said. Mr. Epstein did not speak much. Dr. Andersson-Dubin was there, but others said they barely knew who Mr. Epstein was or what he had been convicted of.

Two of the other guests have also been accused of sexual misconduct, then or since: the television host Charlie Rose and Woody Allen, who attended along with his wife, Soon-Yi Previn. (“So how did the two of you meet?” Ms. Handler recalled asking the couple.) Soon after, outraged headlines appeared about Prince Andrew’s associating with Mr. Epstein, a sex offender.

What a country. An how about an addendum on Steven Pinker:

Down Girl is an essential text for understanding the Trump era.

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