Epstein accuser sues as questions swirl about his death

Jennifer Araoz has sued Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, members of his staff

Jail guards on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, according to a person familiar with the investigation into the financier’s death.

Surveillance video shows guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

Those details came amid new developments Wednesday in the fight over Epstein’s estate, with a woman filing a lawsuit claiming he forcibly raped her when she was a teenager in 2002.

Jennifer Araoz sued Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and three unnamed members of his staff — the first of many lawsuits expected to be filed by Epstein’s accusers as a new state law went into effect Wednesday that opens up a one-year window for victims of long-ago sex crimes to take legal action.

“Today is my first step toward reclaiming my power Jeffrey Epstein and his enablers stole from me,” Araoz said. The AP names alleged victims of sexual offences only if they consent to being identified, as Araoz has done.

The lawsuit accuses Maxwell of helping Epstein recruit teenage girls and providing “organizational support to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring.”

Maxwell’s publicist and lawyers did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment. She previously denied wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating whether any Epstein associates will face charges.

READ MORE: Jeffrey Epstein dies by suicide in jail cell: officials

Epstein, 66, is believed to have killed himself early Saturday at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges .

The cause of the death has not been announced, but a person familiar with operations at the lockup said Epstein was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck.

His death prompted the Justice Department to place two guards on leave and remove the jail’s warden pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI and the department’s inspector general. Falsifying log entries can be a federal crime.

The case has thrown a spotlight on chronic understaffing at the jail, which has long been used to house some of the world’s most notorious criminals, including mobsters, drug lords and terrorists.

A person familiar with the jail’s operations told the AP that a guard in Epstein’s unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he lacked authorization to publicly discuss jail operations.

Last month, Epstein had been put on suicide watch, with 24-hour monitoring and daily psychiatric evaluations, after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck. But he was taken off suicide watch at the end of July and returned to the jail’s special housing unit, for inmates requiring close supervision.

Balsamo reported from Washington. Jennifer Peltz contributed reporting from New York.

Michael R. Sisak, Michael Balsamo And Jim Mustian, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UVic students return from Hong Kong amidst growing tension

All eight University of Victoria exchange students have returned to Canada

Interest swirls in Oak Bay to ban gas-powered leaf blowers

‘Two-stroke engines are obosolete technology,’ says Coun. Tara Ney

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

ICBC, province urge residents to plan ahead for winter weather

Greater Victoria should gear up and have a plan in place

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Most Read