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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SAR picks up two sledders after night spent outside

Fernie and Sparwood Search and Rescue (SAR) were called to action on… Continue reading

Community Appreciation Day at FAR

A thick blanket of snow fell on skiers and snowboarders alike on… Continue reading

The Fernie Hotel to host bushfire fundraiser

Putting a charitable spin on your typical Sunday Funday this weekend at The Fernie Hotel

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Got rhythm? Join in with SAMAJAM in Cranbrook

Anyone who has ever attended a concert and wanted to be a… Continue reading

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read