While the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein rendered moot his victims’ civil case seeking to overturn a decade-old plea bargain, a federal judge held open the prospect of giving Epstein’s victims a forum to confront federal prosecutors over their handling of the case.
Since last year’s shutdown of Backpage.com, three other websites have come to dominate the online sex-for-sale industry and have been the subjects of a years-long investigation. Although their offshore web hosts complicate the legal issues, authorities say they have leverage through U.S. companies.
Nome police fielded 372 calls about sexual assaults against adults from 2008 through 2017. Only 30 cases led to arrests on sex charges. Critics say police investigate less aggressively when a report comes from an Alaska Native woman.
Michigan State University was fined a record $4.5 million over its handling of sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar, the sports doctor who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls said he had abused them.
Chanel Miller, the woman whose Stanford University sexual assault case caused a public outcry, is publishing a book, “Know My Name.” She has been known only by Emily Doe since her case made the headlines. Her assailant, Brock Turner, ending up serving only three months in jail.
The calls for federal action came in response to an AP investigation, which found that a Wisconsin-based group of Franciscans paid Joshua Love and La Jarvis Love $15,000 each to keep silent about their claims and never file lawsuits.
One of the women under scrutiny, Epstein’s onetime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been accused in several well-publicized lawsuits of overseeing efforts to procure girls and young women for him, a charge she has firmly denied.
Changes include adding several dozen more investigators, retraining staff and, starting this week, shifting how rape statistics are reported to the public. The department is adding a section listing the number of rapes in the city as counted under the national standard in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system.
Nearly two dozen accusers shared their accounts with Judge Richard M. Berman at a hearing called after federal prosecutors said they planned to drop the sex trafficking charges against Epstein in light of his death — a decision that requires a judge’s approval.