Florida Sen. Lauren Book has reached out to Capitol police after receiving an anonymous warning connected to her demand for a state inquiry into Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s handling of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s lenient work release program, the Miami Herald has learned.
Book, a vocal advocate for child sexual assault survivors, said she also received more than a dozen calls from Bradshaw’s political supporters asking her to back off on her call for an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into Bradshaw.
On Monday, Book, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to authorize a probe into how Epstein, accused of molesting dozens of underage girls and a registered sex offender, was permitted to leave the Palm Beach County Jail and spend much of his 2008-2009 incarceration in an office in West Palm Beach.
DeSantis said Thursday after a Cabinet meeting that he would “certainly consider” an investigation but that he has yet to decide how the state should respond.
“I saw someone sent me a letter. I looked at it,” he said. “I’ve got to figure out what the proper role of FDLE [is]. I know they are investigating it down in Palm Beach. … Clearly when you look at how that happened, if even like 10 percent of the things about him are true, then that whole agreement was obviously suspect and willfully below what he should have faced.”
While the governor was still weighing the merits of the senator’s request, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office issued a new statement that its previously announced internal affairs investigation of the deputies who guarded and supervised Epstein during his work release had become a criminal investigation as well. No further elaboration was provided.
Meanwhile, Book, in an interview with the Herald, said she had asked the Capitol police, who handle security for state lawmakers, to look into claims made on a Russian website alleging that Bradshaw was behind an effort to access her phone and emails by using the pretext of “imminent danger’’ to obtain her personal information.
“I’ve received countless phone calls saying ‘Little girl you don’t know what you’re getting into,’ and telling me that I should just stop,’’ said Book, a child sexual abuse survivor herself who has worked to pass strict sex offender laws in Florida.
In a statement, PBSO said it had no knowledge of anyone trying to threaten or pressure Book.
Video of Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 showing that he was allowed to travel to Israel before his 13-month prison sentence: