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AI pioneer accused of having sex with trafficking victim on Jeffrey Epstein’s island

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Marvin Minsky was named alongside several other prominent men

Jeffrey Epstein with Professor Marvin Minsky
Jeffrey Epstein with Professor Marvin Minsky
Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

A victim of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein testified that she was forced to have sex with MIT professor Marvin Minsky, as revealed in a newly unsealed deposition. Epstein was registered as a sex offender in 2008 as part of a controversial plea deal. More recently, he was arrested on charges of sex trafficking amid a flood of new allegations.

Minsky, who died in 2016, was known as an associate of Epstein, but this is the first direct accusation implicating the AI pioneer in Epstein’s broader sex trafficking network. The deposition also names Prince Andrew of Britain and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, among others.

The accusation against Minsky was made by Virginia Giuffre, who was deposed in May 2016 as part of a broader defamation suit between her and an Epstein associate named Ghislaine Maxwell. In the deposition, Giuffre says she was directed to have sex with Minsky when he visited Epstein’s compound in the US Virgin Islands.

Deposition of Virginia Giuffre, taken on May 3, 2016
Deposition of Virginia Giuffre, taken on May 3rd, 2016.

As part of the defamation suit, Maxwell’s counsel denied the allegations, calling them “salacious and improper.” Representatives for Giuffre and Maxwell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A separate witness lent credence to Giuffre’s account, testifying that she and Minsky had taken a private plane from Teterboro to Santa Fe and Palm Beach in March 2001. Epstein, Maxwell, chef Adam Perry Lang, and shipping heir Henry Jarecki were also passengers on the flight, according to the deposition. At the time of the flight, Giuffre was 17; Minsky was 73.

A pivotal member of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, Marvin Minsky pioneered early self-training algorithms, most notably in his 1969 book Perceptrons. He also developed the first head-mounted display, a precursor to modern VR and augmented reality systems.

Minsky was one of a number of prominent scientists with ties to Jeffrey Epstein, who often called himself a “science philanthropist” and donated to research projects and academic institutions. Many of those scientists were affiliated with Harvard, including physicist Lawrence Krauss, geneticist George Church, and cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker. Minsky’s affiliation with Epstein went particularly deep, including organizing a two-day symposium on artificial intelligence at Epstein’s private island in 2002, as reported by Slate. In 2012, the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation issued a press release touting another conference organized by Minsky on the island in December 2011.

That private island is alleged to have been the site of an immense sex trafficking ring. But Epstein associates have argued that those crimes were not apparent to Epstein’s social relations, despite the presence of young women at many of his gatherings.

“These people were seen not only by me,” Alan Dershowitz argued in a 2015 deposition. “They were seen by Larry Summers, they were seen by [George] Church, they were seen by Marvin Minsky, they were seen by some of the most eminent academics and scholars in the world.”

“There was no hint or suggestion of anything sexual or improper in the presence of these people,” Dershowitz continued.