U.S. Attorney General reassigns chief of Federal Bureau of Prisons

2019-08-20 01:48:48 GMT2019-08-20 09:48:48(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Monday that he has reassigned the chief of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the wake of the sudden death of suspected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein at a federal jail in the New York City more than a week ago.

Barr said in a statement that he will name Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as the new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, replacing the agency's acting director Hugh Hurwitz.

"I am pleased to welcome back Dr. Hawk Sawyer as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons," Barr said in the statement. Sawyer previously occupied the role between 1992 and 2003.

The attorney general said last week that the jail where Epstein died has "serious irregularities" and is partially responsible for the disgraced financier's death. However, he didn't mention Epstein in Monday's statement.

Epstein committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell, the New York medical examiner said Friday, capping days of an outpouring of unfounded conspiracy theories about how the disgraced financier died at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

U.S. media reports said earlier the jail had not followed protocol to secure Epstein's safety prior to the apparent suicide. Epstein was at the time under "special observation status," indicating that he should have had a cell mate and jail guards should have checked on him every 30 minutes. But records showed that the cell mate was not present when the apparent suicide took place and jail guards failed to make scheduled tours.

Epstein was accused in early July of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s. He was denied bail weeks after and would face up to 45 years in prison if convicted.