Step one: cleanse the skin?
The Miami Herald recently published a blockbuster investigation on Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is a billionaire, convicted of sex crimes against minors. He, “for years lured teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion as part of a cult-like sex pyramid scheme.”, according to police in the town of Palm Beach. Epstein is now a free man.
From the story:
“This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story,’’ said retired Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter, who supervised the police probe.
More than a decade later, at a time when Olympic gymnasts and Hollywood actresses have become a catalyst for a cultural reckoning about sexual abuse, Epstein’s victims have all but been forgotten.
The women — now in their late 20s and early 30s — are still fighting for an elusive justice that even the passage of time has not made right.
Like other victims of sexual abuse, they believe they’ve been silenced by a criminal justice system that stubbornly fails to hold Epstein and other wealthy and powerful men accountable.
Epstein avoided major punishment for his crimes, due to a deal his lawyers worked out with the then-district attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta. Acosta is now President Trump’s labor secretary and he oversees agencies charged with stopping human trafficking.
Epstein pled guilty to two felony charges in state court. In exchange, he and his associates received immunity from federal sex-trafficking charges, and the investigation was sealed — hiding Epstein’s crimes from the view of the public and other victims.
Epstein had a heavy-hitting team of attorneys, including Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr. And Epstein’s privileges didn’t stop with his sentencing.
More from the story:
Unlike other convicted sex offenders, Epstein didn’t face the kind of rough justice that child sex offenders do in Florida state prisons. Instead of being sent to state prison, Epstein was housed in a private wing of the Palm Beach County jail. And rather than having him sit in a cell most of the day, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office allowed Epstein work release privileges, which enabled him to leave the jail six days a week, for 12 hours a day, to go to a comfortable office that Epstein had set up in West Palm Beach. This was granted despite explicit sheriff’s department rules stating that sex offenders don’t qualify for work release.
We’re speaking with Julie Brown, the Herald reporter behind the story.
- Julie Brown Miami Herald investigative reporter.
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Preet Bharara is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.