Lauren Book asks Ron DeSantis for investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s work release
Image via Colin Hackley.

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"I believe it is appropriate for FDLE to step in and investigate."

State Sen. Lauren Book, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, is calling for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for its handling of alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein‘s work release.

Book, a Plantation Democrat, sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday. She’s the founder of Lauren’s Kids, which educates children and families about preventing sexual abuse, and supports survivors.

Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges in Florida which netted him just 13 months in jail. Most of that time was spent on supervised release, in which Epstein was allowed to leave during the day for work.

Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has said he’s launching an internal investigation “into whether his department properly monitored the wealthy financier,” according to the AP, after reports Epstein had “sexual contacts” with young women in his office while on work release.

Moreover, many experts have called the plea deal too lenientA Miami Herald investigation detailed the machinations behind it, made despite Epstein being accused of having sex with several underage girls.

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Now, Epstein – already a registered sex offender – has since been arrested again and indicted on child sex trafficking charges by federal prosecutors in New York.

“The allegations related to Jeffrey Epstein assaulting young girls while serving on work release under the jurisdiction of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) are alarming,” Book wrote. “If true, this shows yet another breakdown of the system’s dealing with this pedophilic abuser.

“We are calling for accountability on all fronts and to that end, I am formally requesting for you to direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to investigate this matter,” she added. “When an atrocity occurs in our State and there is a breakdown involving law enforcement, I believe it is appropriate for FDLE to step in and investigate.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not respond to a request for comment.

The allegation regarding sex while on work release was made July 16 by attorney Bradley Edwards, who represents several of Epstein’s accusers.

The actual head of FDLE is the Governor and Florida Cabinet, made up of the Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture. (The department’s Commissioner, also called an Executive Director, is appointed by the Governor, with approval from the Cabinet, and confirmed by the Senate. The position is currently held by Rick Swearingen.)

“FDLE investigated the Broward County Sheriff’s Office response to the massacre at Stoneman Douglas, and I believe an investigation into PBSO’s handling of Epstein while on work release is also necessary and proper,” Book wrote.

“If Epstein was able to abuse young girls while under supervised work release, we need to understand very clearly when and how these egregious lapses and abuses occurred so they cannot be repeated.”

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw on Friday announced an internal affairs investigation into the Epstein matter.

“Sheriff Ric Bradshaw shares Senator Book’s concerns. That is why he has ordered an internal investigation to determine if in fact the system failed 11 years ago and hold those accountable for any failures and ensure that it won’t happen again,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in an email Tuesday.

In a case that has drawn international attention, Epstein is facing sex-trafficking charges involving minors in Florida and New York. A federal judge in New York denied a request for bail last week.

Epstein previously served 13 months of an 18-month sentence after he pleaded guilty in 2008 on two state prostitution charges in Florida, including procuring a minor for sex. The plea required him to register as a sex offender.

While in custody, Epstein was housed in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, according to the Miami Herald, which has done extensive reporting on Epstein. After more than three months in custody, Epstein was provided work release for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, the Herald reported.

Book equated the need to investigate the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s actions with how the state investigated the actions of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last year.

The letter as delivered is below.

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The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Staff Reports


3 comments

  • MADD

    July 23, 2019 at 10:35 am

    While you’re at it, have your father take responsibility for his DUI.

  • Christopher Kennard

    July 23, 2019 at 10:59 am

    On behalf of all the wonderful women in my life, ranging from family members to loved ones to friends, acquaintances and women of the world . . . I appreciate the intent and action taken by sending this public request for an investigation into why more sexual crimes committed by Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire rapist of young children and teenagers and young women, were permitted to occur while under the custody of law enforcement agencies of Florida.

    As rather conservative on matters like these,being an older white married male with children, one daughter and sons, I remain appalled at the crimes of rape, sexual abuse, child abuse . . . to me it is nearly unfathomable that this problem remains so serious and so extensive in our nation, as it has over the 67 years of my life. Men like myself must become more involved in removing such violent, sex criminals safely from society, and ensuring that they receive meaningful treatment and/or are removed forevermore from any possibility of molesting or raping anyone ever again.

    As a taxpayer residing in Florida, I have to ask some question myself. I have read the newspapers. Now I want official investigations on the state and federal level.

    Why was this improper deal ever made to begin with? Who above Acosta did not stop this deal from happening, going up the chain of command in the U.S. Justice System? Justice needs to come from our body of law and justice, not meted out by some soul whose daughter is a serial rape victim by those who perpetrate crimes such as these.

    What and when is legal action going to be taken against all involved, no matter who they are?

    Why didn’t Florida law enforcement agencies and prosecutors challenge the deal made with U.S. Attorney Acosta, who hopefully is now looking at criminal charges, himself.

    Again, answers please! Who acted improperly . . . who and when and why did this agreement go through and who was bribed?

    I note that this sure in hell is not a partisan issue, and anyone from this point self-serving or helping sex criminals to receive public posts in our government or cover up their crimes, etc. must feel the full weight of the penalty of violating our laws.

  • gary

    July 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    @Christopher Kennard:

    Acosta, as I understand it, stepped into the situation to get Epstein some prison time as the local DA simply did not want to move forward with a prison term. He did that, however, he was not the person to determine what that sentence would look like.

Comments are closed.


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