Investigation must continue

A few of the women victimized by the late Jeffrey Epstein got their day in court on Tuesday, and some expressed frustration that they will never see him there.

Epstein, the rich sexual abuser who committed suicide in jail earlier this summer, was to have been tried on various charges that he preyed on underage girls for years. Now that Epstein is dead, no trial will be possible.

Still, a formal hearing had to be held to get the charges dismissed, and U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman put the proceeding to good use. He allowed 16 women who say they were harmed by Epstein to testify during the hearing, on Tuesday.

“The fact that I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul,” testified one woman, who says Epstein raped her when she was just 15 years old.

But depriving his victims of an opportunity to see him at a defendant’s table is only part of the damage done by Epstein’s suicide. His death cannot be permitted to end the investigation into his twisted lifestyle.

More needs to be known about how Epstein got away with it for so many years. For one thing, an investigation into the slap-on-the-wrist sentence he received from federal authorities years ago should proceed.

For another, there is the question of how, after having been convicted as a sexual predator a decade ago, he was able to resume victimizing young girls without being touched until earlier this year.

And finally, there is the issue of how Epstein was able to kill himself while in a federal jail in New York City.

Epstein may have thought hanging himself would put an end to the saga. He was wrong. The investigation into his perverted life simply must proceed so that we can learn how he escaped justice for so long — because there are other predators out there, very much like him.

By Patricia Older

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