Level 1 | Level 2| Level 3 | Answers

Jeffrey Epstein was a multi-millionaire with a history of criminal activity. He was in prison awaiting trial for a slew of criminal allegations against him when he died in August 2019. Epstein was first convicted of sex crimes in 2008, although there was massive controversy over his punishment. Epstein was given a short prison sentence and preferential treatment while in prison. He was allowed to leave the prison for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, something which is not normally allowed for such serious criminals.

He was arrested on July 6, 2019, for sex trafficking. The FBI raided his home and found evidence of sex trafficking there. They also found other evidence such as pictures and videos, which is believed to implicate other rich and powerful people. Epstein was denied bail and as such, had been in jail since his arrest on July 6. On July 23, Epstein was found in his cell with marks around his neck. It was suggested that he could have been attacked or he could have tried to commit suicide. As a result of this, he was placed on suicide watch.

There has been outrage from the public, media and members of the government in the US. William Barr, the US attorney general, said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death and announced an investigation into the circumstances of his death. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet regarding the news of Epstein’s death, “We need answers. Lots of them.”

Speculation concerning the circumstances of Epstein’s death has been rampant. Epstein was an influential figure with many powerful friends. It is believed that the evidence found in his home could have been used to blackmail rich and powerful people. Many people believe that he could have traded the names and evidence of these rich and powerful people in order to make his own sentence shorter. It is also believed that Epstein knew a lot more than what had been found by government officials. The best way for this information to become widely known would have been through a trial. It is thought that there are powerful people who were threatened by this prospect and who may have killed him or helped him to kill himself.

There are many questionable factors in Epstein’s death. As he may have attempted suicide on July 23, he should have been on suicide watch. If he was on suicide watch then his death should have been impossible. Prisoners on suicide watch have a guard watching them 24 hours a day, anything which could be used to harm themselves is removed and if needed, they could be strapped to a chair and put to sleep. If he wasn’t on suicide watch, then there are questions as to why he was taken off of suicide watch and who authorised it.

Epstein was also being held in one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan has housed some of the most dangerous and famous criminals in the world. This has added to the speculation of how Epstein’s death could have happened. In a prison as secure as MCC, his death should have been impossible.

Difficult words

Slew (n): A large number or quantity of something.

Preferential (adj): To prefer something, or be partial.

Trafficking (v): The illegal trade of things.

Raid (v/n): A surprise visit of people searching a place.

Implicate (v): To involve someone in a crime.

Appalled (adj): To be shocked and horrified.

Rampant (adj): Uncontrolled and widespread.

Blackmail (v): To threaten something from someone if they don’t do what you want.

Strapped (adj): To be tied to something with straps.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Match the Synonym!

1. Slew A. Surprise search.
2. Preferential B. Horrified
3. Trafficking C. Widespread
4. Raid D. Illegal trade.
5. Implicate E. Tied
6. Appalled F. Extortion
7. Rampant G. A group.
8. Blackmail H. Involve in crime.
9. Strapped I. Prefer

True or False?

1. Jeffrey was awaiting trial at home when he died. T / F

2. He was convicted of crimes in 2008. T / F

3.  Epstein never had special treatment while in prison. T / F

4.  In July 2019, Epstein’s office was raided. T / F

5. The attorney general of the U.S. is appalled at the situation. T / F

6. Epstein was never put on suicide watch. T / F

7. Epstein didn’t know many powerful people. T / F

8. There is no way Epstein could have killed himself without help. T / F

9. Epstein was in the least secure place in the world. T / F

10. The prison holds some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. of / awaiting trial / He / prison / for / in / a / criminal allegations / slew / was

2. sex / crimes / convicted / of / first / Epstein / was

3. prison sentence / a / Epstein / short / given / was / and / preferential treatment

4. was / could / he / been / have / It / that / attacked / suggested

5. in / many / questionable / factors / There / death / are / Epstein’s

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: 

Denied Speculation Circumstances
Suicide Treatment Evidence
Information Activity Cell

Jeffrey Epstein was a multi-millionaire with a history of criminal (1)___________. He was in prison awaiting trial for a slew of criminal allegations against him when he died in August 2019. Epstein was first convicted of sex crimes in 2008, although there was massive controversy over his punishment. Epstein was given a short prison sentence and preferential (2)________________ while in prison. He was allowed to leave the prison for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, something which is not normally allowed for such serious criminals.

He was arrested on July 6, 2019, for sex trafficking. The FBI raided his home and found evidence of sex trafficking there. They also found other evidence such as pictures and videos, which is believed to implicate other rich and powerful people. Epstein was (3)________ bail and as such, had been in jail since his arrest on July 6. On July 23, Epstein was found in his (4)________ with marks around his neck. It was suggested that he could have been attacked or he could have tried to commit suicide. As a result of this, he was placed on suicide watch.

There has been outrage from the public, media and members of the government in the US. William Barr, the US attorney general, said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death and announced an investigation into the (5)________________ of his death. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet regarding the news of Epstein’s death, “We need answers. Lots of them.”

Speculation concerning the circumstances of Epstein’s death has been rampant. Epstein was an influential figure with many powerful friends. It is believed that the (6)____________ found in his home could have been used to blackmail rich and powerful people. Many people believe that he could have traded the names and evidence of these rich and powerful people in order to make his own sentence shorter. It is also believed that Epstein knew a lot more than what had been found by government officials. The best way for this (7)_______________ to become widely known would have been through a trial. It is thought that there are powerful people who were threatened by this prospect and who may have killed him or helped him to kill himself.

There are many questionable factors in Epstein’s death. As he may have attempted suicide on July 23, he should have been on (8)___________ watch. If he was on suicide watch then his death should have been impossible. Prisoners on suicide watch have a guard watching them 24 hours a day, anything which could be used to harm themselves is removed and if needed, they could be strapped to a chair and put to sleep. If he wasn’t on suicide watch, then there are questions as to why he was taken off of suicide watch and who authorised it.

Epstein was also being held in one of the most secure facilities in the world. The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan has housed some of the most dangerous and famous criminals in the world. This has added to the (9)______________ of how Epstein’s death could have happened. In a prison as secure as MCC, his death should have been impossible.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you think there are people who wanted Jeffrey Epstein dead?
5. Do you know who Jeffrey Epstein was?
6. Do rich people in your country get away with crimes more easily?
7. Do rich people have a different prison experience in your country?
8. Do you think rich people or celebrities should be treated differently in prison?
9. Is trafficking an issue in your country?
10. What do you think about the many celebrities who were friends with Jeffrey Epstein?
11. Has there ever been a similar news story in your country (someone is killed so they don’t leak information)?
12. What do you think will happen because of Epstein’s death?
13. Are there any popular conspiracy theories in your country?
14. Do people believe in conspiracy theories in your country?
15. What is a popular conspiracy theory that you agree with?
16. What is a popular conspiracy theory that you disagree with?
17. Do you think the government keeps important information from the public?
18. Is corruption a problem in your country?
19. How can we stop corruption among the officers in prisons?
20. Can politicians be trusted in your country?