A decade ago, after Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting a minor, he served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach jail. The sentence, which allowed Epstein to spend 12 hours a day on work release, has come under intense criticism in recent months. It’s been called a “sweetheart deal” and an example of the privileges afforded to the wealthy and well connected.
Now there are also accusations that the lenient sentence enabled Epstein to continue his abuse. In a press conference Tuesday, attorney Brad Edwards, who is representing some of Epstein’s accusers, said at least one woman in Florida alleges abuse at the hands of Epstein while he was on work release. Epstein was also visited during this time by others for “sexual contact,” Edwards said, adding that he doesn’t know if any of the visitors were underage.
“They believed that they were going there for something other than a sexual purpose,” Edwards said of Epstein’s visitors. “While there, surprisingly to them, the situation turned sexual.”
Edwards continued: “He was in his office most of the day, and what I can tell you he had visitors, female visitors. I don’t know if any of them were underage. The female visitors were there not for business and engaged in very similar conduct of that which was described in the Palm Beach police report. It was sexual in nature.”
Edwards said he wanted to share the information because Epstein’s lawyers have claimed that he’s been a model citizen since serving his 2008 sentence. But Edwards said that Epstein was still engaging in problematic behavior, even if his alleged victims were not underage.
“If the exact same conduct was being done to an unsuspecting 18-year-old after 2007, then I still consider that to be criminal, problematic conduct, and something where you are not controlling yourself enough,” Edwards said.
Edwards’s claims contradict those made by Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy Michael Gauger in the Palm Beach Post last week. Gauger, who praised Epstein for helping to sweep up the jail, said the only people allowed to visit him while he was away from his cell were his lawyers and his business partners. Epstein was also compelled to hire an off-duty sheriff’s deputy to monitor his activities.
“I’m just saddened that some people thought it was corruption, that he was given all these privileges because of his wealth,” Gauger told a documentary crew in April, according to the Post. “He was made to jump through additional hoops and meet additional requirements because of his wealth.”