Two guards who were tasked with monitoring billionaire Jeffrey Epstein during his detention in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) failed to check in on him for “several” hours before his death early Saturday morning, the Washington Post reported.
The two guards were working overtime on Saturday when Epstein died in what the authorities have classified as an “apparent suicide,” the president of the local jail staffer union said Sunday. The guards, one of whom was working his fifth straight day of overtime, were required to check on Epstein every 30 minutes but failed to do so the night that he died.
Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, argued that it was only a matter of time before tragedy struck at the MCC due to the understaffing that leads many guards to be overworked.
“If it wasn’t Mr. Epstein, it would have been somebody else, because of the conditions at that institution,” Gregg told the Post. “It wasn’t a matter of how it happened or it happening, but it was only a matter of time for it to happen. It was inevitable. Our staff is severely overworked.”
Epstein was placed on suicide watch on July 23 after he was found unconscious following what authorities believed to be a suicide attempt. But he was taken off suicide watch after only one week, in a decision the Bureau of Prisons surely will be asked to account for. His cellmate was transferred after Epstein was taken off suicide watch, leaving him alone in his cell on the night he died.
The billionaire financier was awaiting trial for sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls in the early 2000s. A number of prominent lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as Attorney General William Barr, have said they plan to investigate the matter further to determine how and why Epstein’s victims were denied justice in this way.