PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has ordered an Internal Affairs investigation into his agency's handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case while the Palm Beach billionaire and registered sex offender was on a work release program more than a decade ago.
According to a news release from PBSO, the sheriff:
“...wants to determine if any actions taken by the deputies assigned to monitor Epstein during his work release program violated any agency rules and regulations, during the time he was on PBSO work release program.”
Between 2008 and 2009, Epstein, who was a convicted sex offender after pleaded guilty to solicitation of a minor, was allowed to leave his cell in the Palm Beach County Jail, get picked up by his private driver in a limo, and go to his office in downtown West Palm Beach.
WFLX Investigators uncovered that Epstein was allowed to leave jail six days a week after Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw granted Epstein work release benefits.
Under the rules of the work release program, a deputy was assigned to "remain in the office with [Epstein] at all times."
But deputy logs show Epstein was escorted to his home by deputies at least nine times.
In addition, deputies left him in his home unsupervised for up to three hours sometimes, despite the fact that agency rules stated Epstein "is not to leave his designated workplace for any reason, with the exception of returning to the PBSO stockade, or for emergency medical treatment."
WFLX asked PBSO if Epstein was allowed to go home during his work release, but they have not responded.
The hedge fund manager's guilty plea was part of a 2008 non-prosecution deal which kept Epstein out of federal prison as part of sex trafficking investigation.
According to a statement released by PBSO on Friday:
“Sheriff Bradshaw takes these matters very seriously...All aspects of the matter will be fully investigates to ensure total transparency and accountability.”
Epstein, who's pleaded not guilty to new federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges filed earlier this month, was denied bail at a court hearing on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Epstein paid underage girls, some as young as 14 years old, hundreds of dollars in cash for massages, then molested them at his homes in Palm Beach and New York between 2002 and 2005.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 29 for updates.