Whenever the news of the latest child molester comes out, as it invariably does, people all over the world express outrage and call for that individual’s death. However, what they fail to understand is the value of the information these people have.
In the case of alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, his suicide is not one to be celebrated because of the numerous unanswered questions surrounding his case.
One of the most pressing issues introduced by this case is the sex-trafficking ring Epstein was allegedly a central part of. Unsealed court documents, whose release was overshadowed by the news of Epstein’s suicide, mention a number of prominent individuals, including former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, as possible customers. In an interview with New York Times journalist James B. Steward, Epstein claimed that he had “dirt” on many famous people, with evidence to back it up.
Though it is possible that further investigation may uncover this evidence, every minute spent in search of the documents is another minute that these unnamed, unidentified criminals are free and trafficking. Epstein’s testimony against them or even a name-drop in court could have easily expedited the tracking process.
People celebrating Epstein’s suicide assume that now he is dead, the case is closed. However, his suicide leaves more questions and less answers. It is crucial that the case stays in the media spotlight so that there is no possibility of it blowing over or being covered up, and in order for that to happen, people must understand that Epstein’s death is not something to be happy about, but instead something to be questioned.
In addition to the sex trafficking ring, there are more mysteries left behind by the suicide. These questions lie in the prison system. Epstein was held in one of the so-called securest prisons in the United States. Despite this fact, he was able to commit suicide while in custody. Additionally, just two days before doing so, he signed his will, an action that should have alerted prison officials to place him back on suicide watch.
Instead, he stayed in a cell that should have been checked every 30 minutes, but those checks were also blown off by prison staff. In fact, the two prison guards who were supposed to be watching and checking on Epstein were reportedly asleep on duty at the same time, which gave Epstein the opportunity to hang himself with a bedsheet.
How poorly the prison staff kept watch over him raises questions about whether there was corruption in the system that allowed him to commit suicide, or whether the prisons are so poor at management that they fail to handle even the highest profile cases adequately.
The warden of the New York prison and the head of the Bureau of Prisons have been reassigned and U.S. Attorney General William Barr has vowed to thoroughly investigate.
More speculation about corruption in the system come up surrounding a previous case. In this case, Epstein pleaded guilty to two lesser counts to avoid federal prosecution for sex trafficking and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. He was released five months early, and during the other 13 months, he was allowed time to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Allowing a sex offender to receive such a light charge, as opposed to the original charge of multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor, reveals a glaring flaw in our justice system.
Officials cannot pursue criminal charges against a dead man, so his reported 66 victims will never be able to see him properly punished for his crimes. What many people don’t understand is that Epstein died on his own terms, which means that he took the easy way out instead of facing the proper consequences for the pain he inflicted on many other individuals, emotional and physical, direct and indirect.