Harvard University received nearly $9 million in donations from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein over a nine-year period, the Ivy League university’s president disclosed in an email Thursday night.
The disgraced financier, who was found hanging in his prison cell and later declared dead Aug. 10, gave $6.5 million to Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics and made other gifts totaling $2.4 million between 1998 and 2007, University President Lawrence S. Bacow said.
"Each of these gifts from Epstein and his affiliated foundations to Harvard University predates his guilty plea in June 2008," Bacow said. "To date, we have uncovered no gifts received from Epstein or his foundation following his guilty plea. Moreover, we specifically rejected a gift from Epstein following his conviction in 2008."
Epstein pleaded guilty to a child prostitution charge in 2008 and registered as a sex offender. He agreed to a plea deal and served nearly 13 months in jail with work-release privileges, which meant he could work in his office six days a week.
Joichi Ito, director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), resigned Saturday after it was revealed he accepted $525,000 in donations from Epstein after his guilty plea in 2008, according to a report by The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow.
When he died, Epstein, 66, was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide. Prosecutors alleged that Epstein paid girls as young as 14 hundreds of dollars for massages before molesting them in his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Fla, between 2002 and 2005.
“Epstein’s reported criminal actions were utterly abhorrent,” Bacow said Thursday. “They flagrantly offend the values of our society and this institution, and we condemn them.”
Bacow added that while most of Epstein’s gifts to Harvard were not endowed funds and were spent “years ago for their intended purposes in support of research and education,” the university found a current fund that was still in use.
“One small endowment” for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has an unspent balance of $186,000, which Bacow said will be redirected “to organizations that support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault.”
“This is an unusual step for the university, but we have decided it is the proper course of action under the circumstances,” he noted.
A former faculty member, Stephen Kosslyn, designated Epstein as a visiting fellow in the Department of Psychology in 2005, and the university is “seeking to learn more about the nature of that appointment,” Bacow said.
A review of Epstein’s donations to Harvard is ongoing, according to the university.
The Justice Department and FBI are still investigating the circumstances of Epstein’s death.
Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran and Bryan Llenas contributed to this report.