Epstein prison guards charged over falsifying records

This Aug. 13, 2019, file photo, shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. (AP)
Updated 19 November 2019

Epstein prison guards charged over falsifying records

  • Epstein was found dead in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10 a
  • US justice officials are investigating how he was able to kill himself when he was supposed to be under close watch

NEW YORK: Two guards who were on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide in a high-security jail were charged Tuesday with falsifying records after they apparently failed to check on him.
Epstein, 66, was found dead in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10 as he awaited trial on allegations that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.
US justice officials are investigating how the wealthy financier, one of America’s most high-profile on-remand detainees, was able to kill himself when he was supposed to be under close watch.
New York prosecutors charged Tova Noel, 31, and Michael Thomas, 41, Tuesday with making false records to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful function of a federal prison.
The indictment — unsealed in a Manhattan court — accused the defendants of failing to carry out mandated prisoner checks and then signing false records to cover their tracks.
“As alleged, the defendants had a duty to ensure the safety and security of federal inmates in their care at the Metropolitan Correctional Center,” said US attorney Geoffrey Berman.
“Instead, they repeatedly failed to conduct mandated checks on inmates, and lied on official forms to hide their dereliction,” he added.
Epstein was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who hobnobbed with countless celebrities over the years, including Britain’s Prince Andrew and US President Donald Trump.
Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
He denied the charges but faced up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.
After his death dozens of women came forward to say they had been abused by him and several have sued his estate for damages.
The prison guards’ indictments were announced a day after another woman accused Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was 15.
The woman, who is using the name Jane Doe 15, told a news conference in Los Angeles the financier took her to his ranch in New Mexico and raped her there.
“Epstein took my sexual innocence in front of a wall of framed photographs of him shaking hands and smiling with celebrities and political leaders. I was only 15 years old,” she said.
“After, he wanted to talk with me about what had just been my first sexual experience and directed me to take time to myself that night to cry. He said that would be beneficial to my growth.”
Epstein’s death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he had been murdered to stop him from revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.
He was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.


Muhammad, Aaliyah among most popular US baby names

Updated 29 min 1 sec ago

Muhammad, Aaliyah among most popular US baby names

  • “Muhammad has been rising on BabyCenter top baby name lists around the world”

WASHINGTON: As the number of Muslims living in the US continues to increase, the number of newborn babies named Muhammad and Aaliyah is on the rise.

For the first time in America, the two traditionally Arab and Muslim names are now ranked among the top 10 baby names according to a study managed every year by the website BabyCenter.com.

The growing popularity of Muhammad and Aaliyah, including various alternate spellings, is reflected by their rise in recent years. In 2018, Muhammad ranked as the 14th most popular name for newborn American boys, with Aaliyah the 17th most popular name for newborn girls.

This year, both names tied as the 10th most popular names for 2019.

“Muhammad has been rising on BabyCenter top baby name lists around the world, so we knew it would soon break into the US top 10,” said Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s global editor in chief.

She added: “Muslim families often choose Muhammad for firstborn sons to honor the prophet and bring blessings to the child. The name also has multiple spellings, and that helps a name get into the top 10.”

Murray said that the name Muhammad is also one of the most popular names in the world, and its popularity has been rising each year. While non-Muslim families have a seemingly limitless range of possible names to choose from, tradition is still very important for Muslim families, according to BabyCenter research, and includes the custom of naming a son after the Prophet.

The name is so popular that many parents who name their babies Muhammad often shorten the name to “Md,” “Mohd” and “Muhd” or go by a less common Americanized names such as “Mike.”

BabyCenter’s top 100 list is based on the names of hundreds of thousands of babies born in 2019 to parents registered on its website.

The most popular name for girls is Sophia, which is a popular name among all religions. The most popular name for boys is the Irish name Liam.