Epstein’s teaching has garned some split reactions from those who remember him as a teacher.
Some remember him as a caring teacher; others remember him as lousy. Some remember him as a creep. Some remember him as just one of many young faculty members, who barely would have stood out if not for his penchant for dressing in long, flamboyant fur coats.
In recent days, former teachers and alumni from The Dalton School in New York City have been reconnecting via long group email chains and Facebook comments to discuss memories of the infamous financier Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein, who was charged with the sex trafficking of minors on Monday, worked as an educator at the private school for two years, teaching math and science to students who were just a few years younger than he was at the time, according to The New York Times.
In conversations with 15 former Dalton students, parents and teachers, HuffPost learned that some are reconciling the fond or amusing memories they have of Epstein with allegations of monstrous misconduct. Others recall seeing red flags in Epstein’s behavior, even as teenagers. Some are using the present moment to reconsider certain memories of their alma mater, where sexual student-faculty relationships were occasionally an open secret at a time when the Me Too reckoning was still decades away.
And many are in awe that their former headmaster Donald Barr ― a man who was known for being strict, polarizing and conservative ― is suddenly a relevant part of Epstein’s story, too. Barr, Dalton’s headmaster throughout the late ’60s until the mid-’70s, is the father of Attorney General William Barr. As the nation’s highest law enforcement officer, William Barr oversees the office that is prosecuting Epstein.
“The joke has been this is the Epstein-Barr problem at Dalton,” said Harry Segal, a senior lecturer at Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medical College who graduated from Dalton in 1974. The Epstein-Barr virus, which is a type of herpes that can cause mono, coincidentally contains the name of the men at the center of Dalton’s latest controversy.
Karin Williams, who left Dalton before her junior year in 1976, never had Epstein as a teacher. But she can still picture him clearly in the hallways of Dalton, standing by the school elevators, often surrounded by a gaggle of female students, with whom he seemed to have flirtations, she said.
“He stood out as this young guy in this weird coat,” said Williams, who now lives in Sweden and works in consulting, and has largely fond memories of Dalton. “You noticed him.”
Epstein was hired to teach at Dalton in his early 20s when he was a college dropout from both Cooper Union and New York University. Epstein only lasted at Dalton two years before he was hired by the investment bank Bear Stearns after tutoring the chairman’s son.
Now, Epstein stands accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in New York during the early 2000s. In 2018, the Miami Herald also identified about 80 women who said Epstein abused them around the same time.
Dalton is one of New York City’s most storied and prestigious private schools, known for its sky-high cost and enrollment of the sons and daughters of New York’s richest and most influential families. And while even in the ’70s the school had an outsized reputation, former students describe a largely supportive environment where they were encouraged to pursue intellectual curiosities ranging from ancient Greek to Russian literature. They took classes with notable figures like Yves Volel, a Haitian presidential candidate who was assassinated in 1987.
Still, teachers like Epstein weren’t totally unusual at Dalton during the 1970s, according to seven former students. Barr liked to hire young people in their early-to-mid-20s whom he saw as smart and energetic and full of potential, they say.
It was, however, unusual for a teacher to be as young as Epstein. And to lack a college degree.
And while some Dalton alumni don’t remember him at all, some say he stood out for his youth.
The Dalton School did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment about the circumstances behind hiring Epstein and whether the school’s hiring policies have changed today. Epstein’s legal team did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
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Article Courtesy of The Huffington Post
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