Brown University official suspended in connection to Epstein MIT gift probe

Brown University official suspended in connection to Epstein MIT gift probe
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A Brown University fundraising director has been placed on administrative leave as the school investigates his involvement with alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein while working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

University spokesman Brian Clark confirmed that Peter Cohen, the director of development for computer sciences and data at Brown, is on leave as the school examines the claims laid out in a New Yorker article published last week about Epstein's ties to MIT.

The administrative action against Cohen was first reported by the Providence Journal.

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Cohen helped work to conceal donations from Epstein, who had already pleaded guilty to state charges of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution, while he was director of development for the MIT Media Lab, according to emails cited by The New Yorker.

MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito resigned from the university Saturday after the New Yorker article was published.

“We are aware of the content of recent news reports about Mr. Cohen’s work at MIT’s Media Lab, which received funds from Jeffrey Epstein," Clark said in an emailed statement, noting that Cohen started working at Brown in 2018. "Brown has not in its history received any funds from Jeffrey Epstein."

“We are engaged in a review of available information regarding Mr. Cohen in the context of Brown University policies, core values and the University’s commitment to treat employees fairly," Clark added. "Mr. Cohen is on administrative leave pending this review. The review does not constitute any adverse determination, and it would be premature to speak to any potential outcomes.”

In an email dated Sept. 9, 2014, Cohen wrote, “Jeffrey money, needs to be anonymous. Thanks,” according to The New Yorker.

Epstein killed himself in jail last month ahead of a federal trial on sex trafficking charges. He previously accepted a plea deal in a 2008 case that led to him being registered as a sex offender.