(TMU) — On Tuesday Attorney General William Barr ordered the reassignment of the warden of the federal jail where convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein reportedly hung himself, the Justice Department has said.
Shirley Skipper-Scott was transferred to the Bureau of Prison’s Northeast Regional Office. James Petrucci, warden of a federal prison in Otisville, New York, will replace Skipper-Scott at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), according to CNBC.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec’s full statement reads:
“Today, the Attorney General directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York to the Bureau’s Northeast Regional Office pending the outcome of the FBI and OIG investigations into the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, a former MCC inmate.
FCI Otisville Warden James Petrucci has been named Acting Warden of the MCC New York. The Bureau of Prisons also placed on administrative leave two MCC staff assigned to Mr. Epstein’s unit pending the outcome of the investigations. Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant.”
Two MCC staff assigned to Epstein’s unit were placed on administrative leave by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, pending the ongoing investigation.
On Monday U.S. Attorney General William Barr noted “serious irregularities” at MCC that he found “deeply concerning.” In a speech to law enforcement officials in New Orleans, Barr said that he was “appalled and frankly angry” that Epstein’s jailers failed to prevent his suicide, adding:
“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”
A report from the New York Times revealed that guards failed to follow required protocols in the time leading up to Epstein’s death, whether or not Epstein was still on suicide watch. A law enforcement source also claims that Epstein’s cellmate was transferred, leaving him alone in the cell—another violation of normal procedure.
Epstein, 66, was arrested in early July on sex trafficking charges. Epstein’s body was found hanging by the top bunk of the bed in his cell around 6:30 am Saturday morning. A bedsheet was wrapped around his neck. At the time of his death, Epstein was being held in custody without bond.
A source familiar with the case told CBS News that “shouting and shrieking” was heard coming from Epstein’s cell the morning of his death and that staff were saying “breathe, Epstein, breathe” while attempting to revive him. However, Bruce Barket, a lawyer for Nicholas Tartaglione, an inmate locked up nearby, claims his client heard nothing unusual that morning. “Nobody heard anything,” Barket said. “It was a silent act.”
Tartaglione was a cellmate of Epstein when he was placed on suicide watch in late July after being discovered unresponsive in the fetal position with marks around his neck on the floor of his cell. Tartaglione has denied having any involvement in that incident. Barket stated in July that Epstein and his client got along well.
Tartaglione previously made headlines when an illicit cellphone was confiscated on July 3 from the former cop accused of murdering four men.