Before he was found dead in a New York jail cell in what a coroner described as a suicide, Jeffrey Epstein was a super-rich serial sex abuser with impeccable political connections and a ruthless streak. A year after his death, Epstein haunts a criminal justice system that failed his many victims.
In 2005, the parents of a 14-year-old girl complained to the Palm Beach Police Department in Florida that Epstein had paid their daughter for a massage. The investigation led to the discovery that Epstein used personal assistants to recruit girls to provide massages for him and the massages often led to sexual abuse.
After the state attorney’s office presented its case, a grand jury indicted Epstein for a felony count solicitation of prostitution. In search of a tougher, more appropriate sentence, local law enforcement reached out to the FBI in the hope that the feds could come up with charges that better reflected Epstein’s crimes.
In 2007, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alex Acosta, issued a 53-page indictment.
Enter Epstein’s dream team of lawyers, which included Alan Dershowitz of O.J. Simpson trial fame; Roy Black, who won an acquittal on a rape charge for William Kennedy Smith, JFK’s nephew; and Ken Starr, who served as special counsel against President Bill Clinton.