Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON — Jeffrey Epstein is a serial child molester who used his wealth, power and influence to escape serious penalties for his crimes. The charges brought against him could have resulted in Epstein spending the rest of his life in prison —but instead, he played “let’s make a deal” to subvert justice and escape punishment. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who as U.S. Attorney in Miami cut the deal with Epstein, must resign.
Jeffrey Epstein plays by the same rulebook as Donald Trump, Les Moonves, Harvey Weinstein, Eric Schneiderman and other powerful men who have been revealed as serial abusers of women. Epstein’s scant 13-month stay in a county jail—where he was even allowed to spend twelve hours a day, six days a week, at his office—was made possible by a culture of powerful men enabling each other, while dismissing, excusing or demeaning the women and children they brutalize with physical and sexual violence.
But this toxic culture must end. We cannot allow our legal system to be hijacked by rich men and those who stand by idly while profiting from their abuses of power. Those in law enforcement, politics, and business who defend and protect these abusers are also complicit. They used their privilege to shred the law and make a mockery of justice. But the #MeToo movement is shining a light on their conduct, and that light must not fade.
Alexander Acosta, like Donald Trump, sees legal protections against sexual assault not as indestructible safeguards, but as flexible and even optional suggestions. Every day he remains in office makes a mockery of our system of justice that should protect underage girls from monsters like Jeffrey Epstein.
#EnoughIsEnough. Alexander Acosta must go.
NOW Press , firstname.lastname@example.org , 202-628-8669