Ivy League Professor Charged with Incest

David Epstein, 46, a political science professor at Columbia University, was arrested and charged with a single felony count of incest on Wednesday. He was reportedly engaged in a three-year-long consensual sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter.

According to The New York Daily News, Epstein's daughter was over "over 18 when the relationship began in 2006 and... the two often exchanged twisted text messages." (Guys: They're called "sexts.") It ended in 2009.

Epstein is apparently well-liked, and fairly well-known—he's frequently quoted in the political press, has authored several books, and, uh, two articles for The Huffington Post, the most famous scholarly journal in existence. He's now on administrative leave, apparently in response to the arrest (he was teaching two classes this semester, "Scope and Methods" and "Research Topics and Game Theory"; I'll leave the gross puns to the commenters). His lawyer has released a statement asking that "the Columbia community" give him "support" and "the benefit of the doubt." He's no longer in custody, and isn't speaking to the press.

The Columbia Spectator reports that Epstein was married to another poli-sci professor (who is, according to The Blue and White Magazine's blog Bwog, a "big deal," in boldface type), but that the couple had recently divorced. O'Halloran was seen speaking to a private investigator on Wednesday.

Given that the relationship (apparently) ended a year ago, and it was (apparently) consensual, and the woman was (apparently) over 18 when it began, it's unclear what prompted the investigation, or why Epstein was arrested now, or whether or not his daughter is or was also under investigation. (As always, feel free to engage in lurid speculation! And if you know anything, get in touch!) But we're sure Columbia is glad to have a new scandal to distract from the student-run drug ring that hit the news earlier this week. Watch out, Brown! There's a new "Edgy Ivy" in town.

[Columbia Spectator, Bwog, Gothamist; NYDN]