Since the July arrest of Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking, a number of huge names in the world of tech — from Bill Gates to Elon Musk — have attempted to defend or deny any inkling of a relationship with the financier.
But one prominent computer scientist is seemingly going out of his way to insert himself into the scandal: MIT Visiting Scientist Richard Stallman.
MIT accepted millions of dollars in funding from Epstein, prompting one student group to organize a protest calling for the resignation of any senior MIT administrators who knew about the donations.
In the details of the Facebook event for that protest, the students noted that late MIT professor Marvin Minsky "is accused of assaulting one of Epstein’s victims." They included a link to a story by The Verge that cited the deposition of a woman who said that she was forced to have sex with Minsky at Epstein's compound when she was 17 and the MIT professor was in his seventies.
On Thursday, MIT graduate Selam Jie Gano published a Medium post including excerpts from an email that Stallman reportedly sent to an MIT CSAIL mailing list in response to the protest.
"The word 'assaulting' presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way," Stallman wrote in the email, "but the article itself says no such thing. Only that they had sex."
Had Stallman checked the legal definition of sexual assault prior to penning his email, he would know that the Department of Justice defines it as "a nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent."
As a 17-year-old in the Virgin Islands, Minsky's alleged victim automatically lacked that capacity to consent — hence, sexual assault.
After that, Stallman went on to say the member of "Epstein’s harem" likely presented herself to Minsky as "entirely willing."
Gano takes Stallman to task for his tone-deaf defense of the sexual assault accusations against Minsky in her post — then calls on MIT to "remove men like Richard Stallman" from its ranks.
"This behavior cannot go unchecked, simply because someone is seen as a 'genius,'" Gano wrote. "Simply because they are powerful, influential, or have friends in high places. Those are the same forces that allowed Jeffrey Epstein to rape and traffick children for so long."
"Remove everyone, if we must," she later adds, "and let something much better be built from the ashes."
READ MORE: Remove Richard Stallman [Medium]
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