Jeffrey Epstein abused girls as young as 11 on secluded private island, lawsuit says

Little St James Island, one of the properties of financier Jeffrey Epstein, is seen in an aerial view in July: REUTERS
Little St James Island, one of the properties of financier Jeffrey Epstein, is seen in an aerial view in July: REUTERS

Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein trafficked girls in the Caribbean as young as 11 years old up until 2018, according to a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by US Virgin Islands attorney general Denise George claims that Epstein had brought girls as young as 11 and 12 to his secluded estate there, and kept a computerised database that tracked the availability of women and girls. The lawsuit could ultimately reduce the amount of money available to victims who have come forward as a part of claims against the estate in the United States, according to Reuters.

“Epstein clearly used the Virgin Islands and his residence in the US Virgin Islands at Little Saint James as a way to be able to conceal and to be able to expand his activity here,” Ms George said.

The lawsuit against Epstein, who died by suicide last year in a New York City jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, marks a broadening of the accusations against the financier who is known in part for his powerful social circle that at various times included Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

The latest accusations would suggest his exploitation did not stop following his previous convictions in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from an underage girl. That case against him began in 2005 when Florida police received a complaint from parents that the financier had abused their 14-year-old daughter. Charges in New York and Florida only alleged trafficking as recently as 2005.

Epstein later served 13 months in jail, receiving a contentious and extensive work release allowance that let him leave the jail for much of his sentence.

He was also only forced to plead guilty two two of the crimes he originally faced, even though federal officials had identified dozens of girls he had sexually abused.

The new lawsuit was filed against Epstein’s estate, and seeks the forfeiture of the Little Saint James residence where the alleged abuse occurred. It also seeks forfeiture of Epstein’s second private island, Great Saint James, and the dissolution of numerous shell companies that officials say acted as fronts for the sex trafficking efforts.

Government policy on the Virgin Islands has determined that the assets could be distributed between the women and girls who were victimised in the region, according to Ms George.

In the weeks leading up to his death, Epstein and his estate vigorously denied that he had engaged in sex trafficking.

It is unclear how Epstein’s $500 million worth of assets will be allocated, and legal experts have noted that there is relatively little precedent to help the courts determine how to proceed.

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