CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The director of a prestigious research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resigned Saturday, and the school’s president ordered an independent investigation amid an uproar over the lab’s ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Joi Ito, director of MIT’s Media Lab, resigned from both the lab and from his position as a professor at the Cambridge school, university President L. Rafael Reif said. The resignation was first reported by The New York Times.
Ito’s resignation comes after The New Yorker reported late Friday that Media Lab had a more extensive fundraising relationship with Epstein than it previously acknowledged and tried to conceal the extent of the relationship.
Epstein killed himself in jail Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Federal prosecutors in New York had charged the 66-year-old with sex trafficking and conspiracy.
In a letter to the MIT community Saturday, Reif called the allegations in The New Yorker “deeply disturbing.”
“Because the accusations in the story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation,” Reif wrote. “This morning, I asked MIT’s General Counsel to engage a prominent law firm to design and conduct this process.”