State Sen. Lauren Book calls for investigation into Jeffrey Epstein work release

South Florida lawmaker wants FDLE probe of Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

By Associated Press, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
AP Photo/Phil Sears

Florida Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, wants the state to investigate the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in the aftermath of the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse scandal.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A state senator from South Florida is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to authorize a state investigation into the circumstances of financier Jeffrey Epstein's ability to leave jail on work release.

Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, said in a letter Tuesday that the Republican governor should authorize a Florida Department of Law Enforcement probe into the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. 

The sheriff has announced an internal investigation into Epstein's time at the county jail.

Epstein was allowed out on work release 12 hours a day, six days a week, while completing a 13-month sentence on prostitution-related charges involving underage girls. That came in a 2008 plea deal that included a nonprosecution agreement on federal charges.

"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," Book wrote. "FDLE investigated the Broward County Sheriff's Office response to the massacre at (Marjory) Stoneman Douglas (High School), and I believe an investigation into PBSO's handling of Epstein while on work release is also necessary and proper. 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."

Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the PBSO, said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw shares Book's concerns, which is why he ordered an internal investigation "to hold those accountable for any failures and ensure that it won't happen again."

Epstein now faces federal sex trafficking charges in New York and has pleaded not guilty.

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