The Origins project, while under former ASU professor Lawrence Krauss, received about $250,000 from a foundation belonging to Jeffrey Epstein, the “science philanthropist” and registered sex offender who was recently indicted on charges of child sex trafficking, according to a new report from BuzzFeed News.
Records show that Epstein's foundation Enhanced Education donated approximately $250,000 to the Origins Project between 2010 and 2017, which Krauss headed until he was replaced as its director in August 2018 following accusations of sexual misconduct made against him earlier that year.
According to the report, Krauss continued to accept money from Epstein following the controversial 2008 plea deal in which Epstein pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting minors for prostitution.
“Jeffrey (Epstein) has surrounded himself with beautiful women and young women, but they're not as young as the ones that were claimed," Krauss said, according to the Daily Beast. "As a scientist, I always judge things on empirical evidence, and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I've never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people."
"I don't feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it," he said.
ASU theoretical physics professor Frank Wilczek was also a beneficiary of Epstein's philanthropic contributions, according to Epstein's VI Foundation website.
However, Wilczek denied ever receiving money from Epstein and told Buzzfeed by email that he "was not aware of the serious charges against (Epstein) until quite recently."
ASU did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
Editor's Note: This story was update on July 13 at 3:58 p.m. to clarify the lede.