In academia, we often like to study and report on the crimes and controversies in society as if our world is separate and apart from matters. The arrest of well-known Columbia professor David Epstein, 46, has shattered any such illusions. Epstein, who teaches political science and writes for Huffington Post, is accused of incest –stemming from a sexual relationship with a relative over a three-year period. Some are reporting that it was a relationship with his daughter, 24.
Epstein teaches American politics and voting rights and previously taught at Harvard and Stanford. The relative is not a minor. However, Epstein can still face four years behind bars.
Here is the New York provision:
§ 255.27 Incest in the first degree.
A person is guilty of incest in the first degree when he or she
commits the crime of rape in the first degree, as defined in subdivision
three or four of section 130.35 of this part, or criminal sexual act in
the first degree, as defined in subdivision three or four of section
130.50 of this part, against a person whom he or she knows to be related
to him or her, whether through marriage or not, as an ancestor,
descendant, brother or sister of either the whole or half blood, uncle,
aunt, nephew or niece.
Incest in the first degree is a class B felony.
What is interesting is that there is no report of the woman being arrested even though she was an adult.
Source:NY Daily News
Incest arrests are unfortunately not uncommon in our country (here and here). However, they are usually cases involving minors where abuse is also alleged. It is less common, but certainly not unheard of, to have consensual incest among adults. The alleged ten-year incestuous relationship between former child-star Mackenzie Phillips and her father, rock star John Phillips is a notable example.