2 guards placed on leave, warden reassigned after Epstein's death

Evarado Alatorre
Agosto 14, 2019

The announcement came amid mounting evidence that the chronically understaffed Metropolitan Correctional Center may have bungled its responsibility to keep the 66-year-old Epstein from harming himself while he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. In the weeks after being removed from suicide watch, authorities were required to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, but the protocol was not met the night before he was found dead, The New York Times reported.

The suspicion in Epstein's death was hanging, said a city official not authorized to speak on the record.

The Times spoke to the official on the condition of anonymity.

Last month, Epstein was found unconscious on the floor of his jail cell with marks on his neck, and officials were investigating that incident as a possible suicide or assault.

Epstein was cleared from suicide watch around July 29 before he was returned to the Special Housing Unit area of the jail.

Attorney General William Barr said "serious questions" about the death of Jeffrey Epstein must be answered.

Kupec said James Petrucci, the warden at Federal Correctional Institution Otisville in NY, was named as acting MCC warden.

"Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant", DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in the news release.

One of the corrections officers was reportedly on his fifth straight day of overtime shifts, while another guard had been forced to work overtime, Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, told the Washington Post.

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Epstein was being held without bail on child sex trafficking and conspiracy charges to which he pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors in NY are pursuing a parallel investigation into whether any if his associates will face charges for assisting him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of girls as young as 14.

Federal prosecutors in NY reopened the probe after investigative reporting by The Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.

After Epstein's suicide in NY on Saturday, it is impossible to pursue a criminal case against him directly.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center where financier Jeffrey Epstein was being held, on August 10, 2019.

Two of Jeffrey Epstein's victims say his death means the the 2007 plea deal he signed with prosecutors - which continues to protect four alleged accomplices from prosecution - should be scrapped. The New York City Medical Examiner's office has performed an autopsy, but the results are still pending.

On Aug. 10, just hours after news reports revealed Epstein's death, Metcalfe indicated on Facebook that he didn't believe Epstein died of suicide, and then implied the government isn't legitimate and shouldn't be trusted. Epstein was tied to US President Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, actor Kevin Spacey and high-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

"We will get to the bottom of it, and there will be accountability", Barr said in remarks to law enforcement in New Orleans Monday.

In a statement provided to BBC News, the organisation's president Eric Young said prison employees who are not correctional officers - such as teachers, nurses, clerical workers - are often made to guard inmates due to a process known as "augmentation".

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