Aug. 19 (UPI) — Attorney General William Barr removed the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons on Monday, more than a week after convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in jail, putting the federal prison system under scrutiny.
Barr appointed Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as the new director, replacing acting Director Hugh Hurwitz. He also named Thomas Kane as deputy director.
Under the new arrangement, Hurwitz will return to his role as assistant director of the Bureau of Prisons’ Reentry Services Division.
Barr launched an FBI investigation of Epstein’s death Aug. 10 at the Manhattan Correctional Center. A medical examiner ruled the financier died from hanging himself.
The Justice Department on Tuesday reassigned the warden at the jail to a regional office pending investigations into Epstein’s death. Two staffers assigned to Epstein’s unit also were placed on administrative leave.
Barr said there were “serious irregularities” at the Manhattan Correctional Center and denounced jail officials’ “failure” to secure him.
On Monday, Barr said Hawk Sawyer will bring “excellence, innovation and efficiency” to the Bureau of Prisons as its new leader.
“During this critical juncture, I am confident Dr. Hawk Sawyer and Dr. Kane will lead BOP with the competence, skill, and resourcefulness they have embodied throughout their government careers,” he said.
Epstein faced charges of sex trafficking minor girls and potentially could have named high-profile people who had sex with the girls. He was accused of abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.