Alleged Epstein Victim Disputes Investigation That Cleared High-Level Art Academy Chair

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
July 7, 2020Updated: July 8, 2020

A woman who says she and her sister were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein is disputing a purportedly independent investigation that cleared Eileen Guggenheim of wrongdoing.

Guggenheim, the former dean of students at the New York Academy of Art, is now the academy’s chair.

“For years the Guggenheim and the board of the New York Academy of Art sought to curry favor with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Since Epstein’s arrest almost one year ago, we have watched as other institutions with ties to Epstein have engaged in critical self-examination to do an accounting of how their organizations benefited from the predator he was,” Annie Farmer said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times.

“In sharp contrast, the Academy has gone into a bunker and sought to protect itself rather than exploring the important questions and issues to protect their students moving forward. The Academy’s insinuations that my sister Maria Farmer is somehow responsible for the abuse that both she and I suffered is offensive and unacceptable. The Academy is retreating to the tired and intolerable act of victim-blaming, and it’s wrong at many levels.”

Farmer’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, added, “The Academy never contacted Ms. Farmer or her counsel until after their investigation was completed, and insofar as we are aware ignored other potential witnesses and evidence as well. We regret the Academy’s decision to whitewash these serious charges.”

Epoch Times Photo
Alleged Jeffrey Epstein victim Annie Farmer stands outside court in New York City on July 15, 2019. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Maria Farmer filed a civil lawsuit against Epstein’s estate last year, alleging Epstein sexually assaulted her and her sister, Annie, in 1996, one year after she graduated from the academy. Farmer also publicly accused Guggenheim and the academy of enabling Epstein, who was sometimes at the school watching artists work.

Farmer recounted one show in 1995 attended by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, an associate who was recently arrested on a number of charges.

Farmer said Guggenheim urged her to sell one of her paintings to the pair.

The academy’s Board of Trustees said last week that an independent investigation cleared Guggenheim of wrongdoing and that the chair will remain in her position.

Guggenheim played no role in introducing either Farmer to Epstein and did not play a role in Maria Farmer’s decision to sell the painting, the investigation found, according to the board.

Guggenheim also wasn’t involved with Farmer’s decision to work for Epstein.

Guggenheim was told by Farmer that an uncomfortable incident happened in 1996 but Farmer didn’t provide details that “warranted action from Guggenheim,” according to the board.

“Based on the findings of the investigation, the Board of Trustees now believes that critical aspects of Farmer’s allegations against Guggenheim are untrue,” the board said in a statement.

Correction: A previous version of this article misattributed a quote. It was from Annie Farmer. The Epoch Times regrets the error.