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

What happens in the Cowichan Valley when an earthquake strikes

When an earthquake does happen, will the Cowichan Valley be ready for it?

Winter storm warning now in effect for Island’s east coast

Environment Canada issues new weather warning late Wednesday afternoon

What will finally be enough to wake up the world to climate change?

How many photos and videos of disasters will it take before we stop wasting time?

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

VIDEO: Missing cat reunited with Vancouver Island family after three months

‘It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,’ said owner

Most Read