Two staff members charged with guarding the jail unit where billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was founded dead failed to check on him for hours as they slept and later falsified records to cover up their negligence, The New York Times reports.
The two staff members, who have since been reassigned along with the jail's warden, falsified records to say they checked on Epstein every 30 minutes as required. Such false entries could constitute a federal crime, The Times noted.
According to the report, the two guards were asleep for three hours in the lead-up to Epstein’s reported suicide.
The reported suicide occurred just weeks after Epstein reportedly tried to commit suicide on July 23. He was placed on suicide watch but taken off suicide watch six days later after prison officials determined he was no longer a suicide threat.
Epstein was housed in a cell with another inmate but that inmate was transferred out a day before Epstein’s death.
One guard wasn’t a corrections officer:
One of the staff members charged with guarding the unit where Epstein was held was not formally a correctional officer. The staffer was a former correctional officer who had taken another position at the facility and volunteered to serve as an officer for extra overtime pay, according to The Times.
The second guard, a female officer, was ordered to work overtime because the jail was understaffed.
Both staffers and warden Lamine N’Diaye have been reassigned.
House calls for probe:
Rep. Jerry Nadler and Rep. Doug Collins, the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the Bureau of Prisons demanding answers for Epstein’s death.
“The apparent suicide of this high-profile and ― if allegations are proven to be accurate ― particularly reprehensible individual while in the federal government’s custody demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice,” the letter said.