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Journal story details Bard President's meeting with Epstein

May 02, 2023 12:21 pm

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that Leon Botstein, the longtime president of Bard College, met several times with Jeffrey Epstein years after the financier was found guilty of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008. The college confirmed the story on May 1 after a report in the Wall Street Journal. Mark Primoff, assistant vice president of Bard communications, said that, in 2011, the college received “two unsolicited donations” from Epstein, “totaling $75,000 and 66 laptops.” Primoff said, “As the primary fundraiser for the College, the president met with Epstein a number (of) times over a four-year period to determine if more donations would be forthcoming. The answer, ultimately, was no.” The Journal reported that Epstein, “brought a group of young female guests” to Bard. Primoff said, “Based on his expressed interest in supporting classical music, Epstein attended two public summer concerts at Bard in 2016, an opera and a classical concert, arriving and departing with no other interactions. Those were the only visits.” Botstein, besides being the school's present, also conducts the American Symphony Orchestra. Epstein was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019 and was found dead by suicide, according to authorities, in a cell in August of the same year. “We looked him up, and he was a convicted felon for a sex crime,” Botstein is quoted in the Journal report. “We believe in rehabilitation,” Botstein told the Journal, citing the college’s Prison Initiative Program, which provides higher education for incarcerated individuals. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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