Dear Members and Advocates,
To stay on top of current events impacting our advocacy work, we set up filters that scan the search engines for keywords relevant to our cause. Among the keywords are the ones you would expect, including “Sex offender and Florida”. This week, as you might imagine, our inbox was filled with headlines on Jeffrey Epstein.
Over the years, we’ve not written much on Epstein because its not our position to call out anyone for something they might have done. Even with his case being ‘high profile’ it’s not a place we wanted to go. We also had this fantasy that a multi-millionaire impacted by the registry might one day support FAC in a legal challenge (for those curious… that never happened). With the events that took place this past week, it seemed silly not to address it in our weekly update, so we are going to briefly touch on what’s happening and what relevance it has to our cause.
For those who don’t know – Jeffrey Epstein was one of the most successful money managers out there. He started with Bear Stearns in the late 70’s and by the early 80’s opened his own firm. His clients were the “who’s who” of society and his personal life was said to have matched pace with his professional life. In the late-2000’s, Epstein became the target of State and Federal investigators, who suspected him of soliciting underage girls to perform sexual services for him and his affluent and influential friends. Despite the significant evidence we now know the prosecutors had, he was given a deal from the Feds, plead to a State charge for which he served 13 months on work release, all from a private wing of a Palm Beach County jail.
We’ll leave it to your own speculation as to why Epstein got such a sweetheart deal. Let’s instead fast forward 10 years and understand why he was arrested this past Saturday and is facing one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking for conduct that took place before his first deal.
This past November, the Miami Herald published an article titled, “How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime”. The story and the investigation that went into it, dug up a lot of dirt – not only on Epstein, but on those involved in prosecuting him. The US Attorney’s Office (under the lead of now Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta) is alleged to have gone really easy on Epstein (in fact, agreeing not to prosecute him at all) and possibly violating the law by not informing the victims of the deal. The article renewed attention to the crimes, but also focused attention on those behind the prosecution.
For those wondering how the government can do this… It seems the non-prosecution agreement stated, “prosecution in this District for these offenses shall be deferred in favor of prosecution by the State of Florida” and the government is now saying “this District”means the Southern District of Florida and it didn’t cover the same acts he allegedly committed from his home in New York. The more important question we should be asking is why the government is doing this now, a decade later?
One conclusion might be that it’s easier to divert focus back on the misdeeds of Epstein instead of on the misdeeds of the prosecution, but that’s just one conclusion and we’ll let you come up with your own. What we do know for sure is that in our society it is better to be rich and guilty than poor and innocent and that prosecution is heavily influenced by politicians and the media. In this case, it seems the victims were grossly abused by parties on both sides of this case and hopefully ramifications that come from this will be borne by the responsible parties on both sides.
We bring up this case now because we don’t want the public to think that people routinely do heinous acts and get “sweetheart deals”. That doesn’t exist in the real world. When someone brings that up to you, it’s a good opportunity to let them know what kind of sentences and lifetime punishments are really given out.
We will hear one of those real stories on our Monthly Membership call this week. Our guest speaker is Shawna Baldwin, the young woman featured in the documentary “Untouchable” (available on Amazon). Shawna is speaking out and encourages all us to do the same. Her topic is “Finding Your Voice”. Join us for this special call Thursday July 11 at 8pm. Dial 319-527-3487 to participate.
The Florida Action Committee
- July New Member call will be on Thu Jul 18 at 8pm. All members are welcome to call in to learn more about the organization, volunteer opportunities, resources or just to meet other FAC members by phone. Dial 319-527-3487 to participate.
- Family Support session in Fort Lauderdale area Sat Jul 20th from 11am-1pm, facilitated by Dr. Jill Levenson and Shelly Kavanagh. Call or email for details or to RSVP.
- Mark your calendar for Meet and Greets in the following cities: Casselberry (Seminole County) – Sat July 20 from noon-2pm; Tallahassee (Leon County) – Thu Aug 15 from 6pm-8pm; Apopka (Orange County) – Sat Aug 24 – from 1pm-3pm. Call or email for details or to RSVP.
For more information on events and to organize a Meet and Greet in your area, email [email protected] or leave call-back message at 904-452-8322.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK
What is the point of sending someone to prison – retribution or rehabilitation? Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive “lock-up” approach and sharply cut reoffending rates. The BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby went to see the system in action, and to meet prison…
If you reside in DeBary and are being told you need to move from your home, please contact [email protected] DeBary’s City Council passed an ordinance expanding regulations over registered sex offenders. The ordinance bans registered sex offenders from…
On Oct. 12, 2018, Daehaun White walked free, or so he thought. A guard handed him shoelaces and the $19 that had been in his pocket at the time of his booking, along with a letter from his public defender. The lanky 19-year-old had been sitting for almost a month in…