Read: When Jeffrey Epstein joked about sex abuse
McCawley’s answer: Yes. Which is the same answer that was given by many of Epstein’s other accusers this morning, as they have made clear that, where their cases are concerned, Epstein’s death is not an ending, but instead the start of something else.
“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court,” Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15 years old, said this morning. “We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people.” She added, however: “Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
Lisa Bloom, the attorney who represents many of the women who have made similar accusations against Epstein, put it like this: “Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice. Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.”
Brad Edwards, who represents several others of Epstein’s accusers, shared that sentiment: “While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for,” he said in a statement. “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused.”
These are not merely notional nods to accountability; they are hints at the strategy Epstein’s accusers will enact, now that Epstein will no longer be present to defend himself in a criminal trial. “Obviously, criminal charges can’t be lodged against a dead person,” Paul Callan, a legal analyst for CNN, put it on the network this morning. “The question is … can civil cases for money damages be brought by other and new victims? And the answer to that is yes … So his suicide will not end coverage and interest in the Jeffrey Epstein case.”
Justice can take many forms. It can take the form of those civil suits. “I am calling today for the administrators of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases,” Lisa Bloom tweeted. “Their lives have been shattered by his sexual assaults, their careers derailed. They deserve full and fair compensation NOW.” Speaking on MSNBC, Bloom elaborated: “They can still bring a civil case against his estate, and we are on the verge of filing one,” she noted. She added: “They deserve compensation.”
Justice can also take the form of investigation: Journalists, following the lead of the Miami Herald’s standard-bearer, Julie K. Brown, can keep pursuing the story—solving, potentially, some of the many mysteries that still obscure the sharp truths of the Epstein case. They can convert questions into answers.