Jeffrey Epstein's prep-school students recall how their 'flamboyant' teacher was 'smarmy, icky and flirting' with young girls
Decades before the now-disgraced Jeffrey Epstein was convicted of soliciting a 14-year-old girl for prostitution and then once again arrested for sex-trafficking, the 66-year-old was a teacher at one of New York's most prestigious prep schools. And his untoward behavior towards young female students was noted even back then.
Between 1974 and 1976, Epstein taught calculus and physics at the Dalton School in New York City's Upper East Side. As a member of both the Ivy Preparatory School League and the New York Interschool, Dalton was, and still is, one of the best private schools in the country and attracted the sons and daughters of the ultra-wealthy.
It was long known for its rigorous academics and high standards, which begged the question: why would they hire Epstein, someone without experience or even a college degree?
While Epstein went on to make quite a name for himself as an options trader at Bear Stearns, working in the special products division and advising high-net-worth clients on tax strategies, he was just 21 and very much an unknown quantity when he was hired by Dalton in 1974.
The New York Times reported that he also shafted the school's newly-enforced strict dress code that did not allow for "bizarre and eccentric costumes" or even denim jeans quite openly.
Students who were at the school during his tenure said he was a flamboyant dresser and that they often saw him wandering the halls in a fur coat, gold chains, and an open shirt that exposed his chest. He was a polarizing figure with the students, with some liking him because of how he behaved more like a friend than an authority figure to students, and others disliking him for the same.
Leslie Kitziger, who graduated from the school in 1978, said Epstein helped her at a time when she was struggling with her parents' divorce and described him as "caring and attentive". She said he had always been professional with her.
However, Millicent Young, another student who was at the school during Epstein's tenure, told the New York Times that she often saw him flirting with girls at the school. "There was a real clarity of the inappropriateness of the behavior — that this isn’t how adult male teachers conduct themselves," she said.
Others spoke on the conditions of anonymity to reveal similar stories. One said Epstein had actively made efforts to spend time with her outside the school and that she had raised concerns over his behavior with another student to the headmaster.
Another recalled seeing Epstein at a high school party in an apartment on the Upper East Side where students were drinking and socializing. He was the only teacher there. "It was weird," said one student who heard about the party. "Everyone talked about it."
"'There were a number of teachers who looked at the student body as their next meal," said Mark Robinson to the Huffington Post. "It's a little icky. You want to have positive memories, clear, clean, nostalgic memories of your school days. You don't like to remember the things that are unpleasant. And this kind of pushes it up in your face."
Epstein was eventually dismissed from his position for "poor performance" by Peter Branch, who was an interim headmaster at the time, and later the head of the high school, stating that he had heard concerns from other faculty about Epstein's teaching.
Dr. Susan Cohn, another graduate, revealed that Epstein told his students to not stress about his class because they were all going to get As. She described Epstein as "smarmy" and as someone who was just there to have fun.
Federal prosecutors in New York have charged Epstein with sex trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held at a cell just three doors down from that of drug lord El Chapo at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Correctional Center.