The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has launched an internal investigation into why financier Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to use his own private driver and make unsupervised stops at his private residence during his work release from the county jail when he served time in 2008 and 2009, according to a new report by West Palm Beach Contact 5 News.
Epstein, who pleaded guilty to solicitation of a minor in Palm Beach County in a secret non-prosecution agreement in 2008, was given carte blanche when it came to how he conducted his work-release program, according to documents seen by the news organization.
Among the 464 pages of deputy logs scrutinized by Contact 5 are countless examples of how Epstein was able to spend unsupervised time at his private mansion, where he stands accused of running a child-sex-trafficking ring, when he should have been at his office. The work-release guidelines stipulate that a deputy in charge of his supervision was supposed to be with Epstein at all times when he was out of the county jail, which clearly did not happen, according to the logs seen by Contact 5.
The logs also show that deputies left him alone in his home for as much as three hours at a time on at least nine occasions despite the clear regulation that the perpetrator “is not to leave his designated workplace for any reason, with the exception of returning to the PBSO stockade, or for emergency medical treatment.”
Epstein was allowed to leave his cell for 12 hours a day six days a week after Sheriff Ric Bradshaw signed off on his petition for work release after he acted as a “model prisoner” during his initial months of lockdown, which he spent in a single cell often relegated to those who have testified against others or who are under threat. Epstein was such a good inmate, he was elevated to the role of houseman, Chief Deputy Michael Gauger told the Palm Beach Post, referring to the special status that would allow him to leave his single cell to carry out duties like sweeping and mopping floors, collecting food trays, and delivering linens. “He never complained,” Gauger said.
After Contact 5 questioned the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office about its investigation, spokeswoman Teri Barbera admitted that deputies did not follow Epstein from the jail to his office on Australian Avenue, according to news reports.
When asked for clarification, the spokesperson sent Contact 5 an email responding, “Don’t forget that Epstein had a GPS ankle bracelet on him and we would know if he diverted from the route from the stockade to his office.”
But the logs show that, on several occasions, officers noted problems with Epstein’s GPS bracelet, including at least two times when they escorted him out of his workplace to “test the system.” On one occasion, officers wrote that they waited across the street from Epstein for a long period of time while the GPS system reset.
The deputies were also asked to wear suits and act cordially with Epstein, who was not registered as a sex offender at the time despite the credible accusations against him.
Bradshaw has now ordered the internal investigation into his department to “determine if any actions taken by the deputies assigned to monitor Epstein during his work-release program violated any agency rules and regulations, during the time he was on PBSO work-release program.”
At least one woman has accused Epstein of sexually propositioning her in his office while he was on work release.
“Sheriff Bradshaw takes these matters very seriously,” the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday. “All aspects of the matter will be fully investigated to ensure total transparency and accountability.”