Epstein’s Fall: Who Will Go With Him?

I didn’t want to write about this. I didn’t even want to read about this. People who traffic children for sex are the lowest life forms. The people who cover up for them and the next lowest. They are the reason I am writing this. Jeffrey Epstein has been exposed in a way and at a time when people are less likely to allow his crimes to go unpunished. The question is who will he take down with him?

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I don’t blame you if you haven’t been following the horrific story of child rape and sex trafficking but some background is needed to understand the potential consequences of this man’s fall. Jeffrey Epstein, listed in his Wikipedia pages as “American financier and sexual predator,” was charged in 2006 with sexually abusing, molesting, and exploiting girls, “tweens and teens” as he put it. I will spare you the details but the crimes and the evidence of them are extensive. In a secret arrangement worked out between Epstein’s lawyers and then Florida prosecutor Alexander Acosta, Epstein was given the deal of a life-time. For crimes that could have sent him to prison for over forty years, he instead spent thirteen months in county jail with twelve hour work release six days a week. The deal also included a clause that gave immunity to any potential co-conspirators in his crimes. Deals tend to require that each side is giving something so the question is, what did Epstein give? 

Alexander Acosta, the prosecutor who made the sweetheart deal for Epstein in 2008 was later appointed as Labor Secretary by Donald Trump. New York prosecutors storming Epstein’s Manhattan home last week and newly charging him with conspiracy and sex trafficking led to Acosta resigning following the outrage at his role in protecting the child abuser. Trump’s Attorney General, William Barr, previously worked for the law firm, Kirkland & Ellis that defended Epstein in 2008, although Barr joined in 2009. Acosta also formerly worked for Kirkland & Ellis. Even more coincidentally, Barr’s father was headmaster at the prestigious Dalton High School where a twenty-year-old college drop-out Epstein got a job as a math and science teacher. Donald Barr left the school shortly after. Epstein was let go within two years for poor performance. This was at a time when the sexual misconduct of a headmaster or teacher would be swept under the rug to avoid tarnishing the school’s reputation so there is plenty of room for speculation there. Attorney General Barr is now overseeing over the case against Epstein. Good sense and typical practice would lead Barr to recuse himself because of the multiple connections—but how can you protect the powerful, perhaps including your boss and the reputation of your own father, if you recuse yourself? Barr announced he would maintain oversight of the prosecution. 

Not every powerful person who overlapped socially or professionally with Epstein was involved in his criminal web but I was struck by the number of people associated with him who have had specific allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct either related to their friendship with him or independently: former President Bill Clinton, Director Woody Allen, Prince Andrew Duke of York, actor Kevin Spacey, physicist Lawrence Krauss, talk show host Charlie Rose, Harvard professor and attorney Alan Dershowitz, and of course President Donald Trump. These are the ones we know about. How many more men with links to Epstein might also have histories of sexual perpetration? And, importantly, how many of these cases does Epstein have proof of?

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Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims wrote in an affidavit, “Epstein … also got girls for Epstein’s friends and acquaintances. Epstein specifically told me that the reason for him doing this was so that they would ‘owe him,’ they would ‘be in his pocket,’ and he would ‘have something on them.’” It’s hard to deny that serious money, especially when it is counted in the billions as Epstein’s is, can accomplish quite a lot. However, sexual crimes against children have historically been hard to brush under the rug once brought to light as Epstein’s crimes were in 2006. Perhaps his money would have kept people from calling him out or reporting on him but once the story was uncovered, it is hard to imagine that he would be allowed to avoid the consequences. Yet that is exactly what happened. His victims, some of whom went on to suffer drug addiction, served more time in jail for how they coped with the trauma he inflicted than he did for perpetrating it. 

What would allow such a deal as the one struck in Florida to go through despite all our social norms about protecting the sexual purity of children? A good, however speculative, case has been made for blackmail. The blackmail theory is closely tied in with speculations about his source of money. The gist is this: A man with an insatiable appetite for hurting children and no morality brings similarly depraved men into his lavish home where he provides them with girls and young women to do their bidding. He then blackmails these rich and powerful men into investing in his various schemes and, when he is ultimately caught, uses his ill-gotten influence to write his own plea deal. But that was all pre- #MeToo and he will have a hard time slipping through the clutches of justice this time around. The question is who he will expose as he flails wildly to save himself.

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What is clear from this case is that #MeToo is not a phase and it is not fading. Instead it is like a snowball rolling down the hills of righteousness, gaining mass as it goes. What started with one case and a hashtag looks as though it might end with an entire generation of rich predatory men finishing out their lives in prison. New hashtag: #YourComeuppance. 

Article by Claire Ryder
VERVE Operative USA & Humanitarian Activist

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