Corruption, wealth, and Upper-class power:

Epstein’s case isn’t even news these days

Sabin Laskoski, Op Ed Columnist

Jeffrey Epstein recently committed suicide after being jailed for charges of sex trafficking, which came as a surprise to many, but some wary individuals who have been paying attention to the abuse of power within the upper class have not been surprised to hear of his corruption at all.
On July 9, after the accusations and charges had been filed in the court of law, USA Today published an article which included detailed information about the charges, as well as the fact that he had pleaded “not guilty” to the counts of sex-trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy.
USA Today, referencing the Miami Herald, one of the main news outlets to have covered Epstein’s incidents in the past, explained that years ago Epstein was “bolstered by unlimited funds and was able to manipulate the legal system.”
Epstein, much like many business and finance moguls ahead of him, has gained not only wealth, but terrifyingly vast power that reaches deeper than wealth ever could within the United States.
In the earlier prosecution of Epstein which dates back to 11 years ago, he was given a light sentence of a 13-month jail sentence, where he actually spent most of it in one of his Palm Beach offices under “work release.”
During the prosecution, USA Today detailed that he did settle with the victim’s families, but at what cost did this “settlement” come? No amount of money can heal the wounds of sexual exploitation, and there are no verdicts or public apologies that could either change a man capable of doing these acts, nor can it give complete peace to victims and their families affected.
According to USA Today, Epstein’s co-conspirators were given immunity, escaping the charges unscathed, and the lead prosecutor Alex Acosta, was immediately under intense scrutiny for his quite passive sentencing of Epstein.
USA Today reported that several Democratic lawmakers had requested that the case be taken further, as they, as well as many Americans who wanted justice for those innocent victims, wanted to see Epstein fully punished for his actions.
Years later, one of the victims of Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring, Virginia Giuffe, filed a lawsuit against the finance mogul turned sex offender and pursued legal action against him, tying his sexual exploitative actions into the hands of president Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.
The accusations, according to Politico, revolved around the so-called “Winter White House.” According to Politico, Giuffe claimed she was working at Trump Tower when she was brought into Epstein’s sex-trafficking as a young girl at the age of 15.
And this is what disgusts many of us. At 15, many young girls are making friends in high school, discovering what it means to take their first steps into adulthood, finding jobs and pursuing dreams of college, military, or the workforce. Instead, Epstein forced this young woman into a life of sexual slavery while her friends and other mere children just like her continued to live normal lives.
This exact corruption of power, distorting the line between social influence and United States law, has been seeping its way into the White House, such as with the well-known accusations between Clinton and Lewinsky. Or the fairly recent discovery of Trump making obscene comments about being able to “grope women freely” because of his wealth and power leaking into the public eye, causing outrage about the accountability of people that maintain immense power within our country.
It makes me wonder, is it the wealth involved with lawyers that sways judgment? Is it the cowardliness of some of the “top” prosecutors in our country? Could it be threats made to families of those involved – witness intimidation such as what many believe Epstein had been pursuing with many of the victims of his sex trafficking?
Whatever the reasoning may be for the corruption of power, wealth, and the legal system in our country that was built upon fairness and just ideals, there needs to be people who are not afraid to challenge the traditions of corrupt power in our country.
And in the future, I can only hope the shifting balance of power within the upper-class elites of our society leaves their hands, because there are honest men and women who give victims a chance to reclaim voices they had thought to have been lost to the past.

Sabin is a junior Mass Communications major and is an Op/Ed Columnist for The Voice.