GOP senator: 'Inexcusable' that Epstein not under constant suicide watch

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseHillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Lawmakers ask for briefings on Chinese targeting of coronavirus research On The Money: GOP senators heed Fed chair's call for more relief | Rollout of new anti-redlining laws spark confusion in banking industry | Nearly half of American households have lost employment income during pandemic MORE (R-Neb.) said Saturday it was “inexcusable” that disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead Saturday morning in his jail cell, was not kept under constant suicide watch while in prison on sex-trafficking charges.

“As a private matter, our house is praying for both Epstein’s family and the many women who were denied justice in this life. But as a matter of public policy, the government has failed these girls yet again," Sasse said in a statement.

"It is inexcusable that this rapist was not under constant suicide watch. These victims deserved to face their serial abuser in court,” added Sasse, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary oversight subcommittee.

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Epstein was in prison awaiting trial on charges he sex trafficked minors, to which he had pleaded not guilty.

His suicide comes shortly after documents containing testimony from one of his accusers were made public, shining light on the details of his alleged operation.

Forida Sen. Rick Scott (R) echoed Sasse's statement, saying Epstein's death had robbed his victims of an "opportunity for justice."

"The Federal Bureau of Prisons must provide answers on what systemic failures of the MCC Manhattan or criminal acts allowed this coward to deny justice to his victims," Scott said in a statement.

Epstein had reportedly been on suicide watch since late July when he was found unconscious in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center with injuries to his neck.

The correctional center not immediately return The Hill's request Saturday for clarification about Epstein's suicide watch. Federal authorities said Saturday that the FBI would investigate his death.

Several other members of Congress have demanded more information on Epstein’s death.

“We need answers. Lots of them,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal MORE (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, tweeted.

Epstein served 13 months in jail about 10 years ago after reaching a deal with prosecutors that has been panned as too lenient. He was arrested in July and charged with trafficking underage girls from 2002 to 2005.

Sasse had previously called on the Justice Department to investigate the deal Epstein had reached with prosecutors for his first stint in prison, calling the sentence “pathetically soft.”

Updated at 1:12 p.m.