Virgin Island-Hundreds of young women and girls were sexually assaulted

New evidence shows Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused and trafficked hundreds of young women and girls on his private Caribbean island, some as recently as 2018, significantly expanding the scope of his alleged conduct, a top law enforcement official said in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.
Mr. Epstein, a wealthy financier who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail last year, was bringing girls as young as 11 and 12 to his secluded estate in the Virgin Islands, known as Little Saint James, and kept a computerized database to track the availability and movements of women and girls, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit, which was filed by Denise N. George, the attorney general of the Virgin Islands, broadened the dimensions of the wrongdoing in which Mr. Epstein was said to have engaged. He had been charged by Manhattan prosecutors in July with sexually exploiting dozens of women and girls in New York and Florida, but they did not point to any actions beyond 2005.
In August, Mr. Epstein hanged himself at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Prison guards had not checked on him for hours on the night he died, and the circumstances surrounding his death are now the subject of at least three federal investigations.
In the weeks before Mr. Epstein killed himself, he and his lawyers vigorously denied the criminal charges. His lawyers had previously said he had been law-abiding since his 2008 conviction in Florida for solicitation.
The suit was filed against Mr. Epstein’s estate and seeks the forfeiture of Little Saint James and Mr. Epstein’s second private island, Great Saint James, as well as the dissolution of numerous shell companies he established in the territory that officials have said acted as fronts for his sex trafficking enterprise.
As part of its policies, the government of the Virgin Islands could take any assets recovered from Mr. Epstein’s estate and consider disbursing them to women and girls who were victimized by him in the region, Ms. George said.
The new accusations — which draw both from independent investigations by Ms. George’s office and court documents from cases across the country — argue that Mr. Epstein ran a decades-long sex trafficking scheme that had a primary nexus in the Virgin Islands.
“Epstein clearly used the Virgin Islands and his residence in the U.S. 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 suit underscores the legal complications of reckoning with such wide-reaching crimes as those Mr. Epstein is said to have committed. Ms. George’s suit is the first filed against the estate by a government entity, but it joins a field of similar claims filed by more than a dozen women.
It remains unclear how Mr. Epstein’s assets, which are valued at about $500 million, could be allocated.
“We don’t have a long history of figuring out what to do in cases of human trafficking,” said Bridgette Carr, the director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, who consulted with Ms. George’s team on the case. “I think this litigation and the courts are just trying to come up with the best, imperfect solution.”
Mr. Epstein’s executor, Darren K. Indyke, did not respond to a request for comment.
Ms. George said she believed the case could chip away at the region’s reputation as a notorious haven for the rich and powerful.
“We will not remain complacent, and we will enforce our laws whatever way we can,” Ms. George said. “It doesn’t matter the social status of the person. It’s that the laws apply equally.”
The court documents said that Mr. Epstein operated with impunity for years at Little Saint James and Great Saint James, which he obtained through a straw purchaser in 2016.
As recently as July 2018, Mr. Epstein refused to permit an investigator from the Virgin Island’s Department of Justice to enter Little Saint James, claiming the island’s dock was his “front door,” according to the lawsuit. The investigator was doing routine monitoring of Mr. Epstein because he was a registered sex offender.
Mr. Epstein’s victims included aspiring models from South America, according to court documents.
Mr. Epstein used a ring of associates to rotate the women and girls in and out of sexual servitude, using fraudulent modeling visas to transport them across state lines and international borders, the lawsuit said. He tracked their availability and proximity using the database, court documents said.
The suit also said air traffic controllers in the Virgin Islands observed Mr. Epstein leaving his private plane in 2018 with girls who looked as young as 11.
In one undated incident detailed in the lawsuit, a 15-year-old girl attempted to swim off Mr. Epstein’s island and escape after she was forced to engage in sex acts with Mr. Epstein and others. The girl was found, and held captive on the island after he confiscated her passport, the suit said.
Prosecutors in New York have said their investigation has continued and anyone who helped Mr. Epstein could face criminal charges.
In addition, the lawsuit said, Mr. Epstein embarked on several illegal construction projects at Great Saint James, which caused damage to native coral and wildlife.
The more than a dozen women who have filed lawsuits against Mr. Epstein’s estate in New York City since his death have accused him of exploiting and sexually abusing them when they were young women and girls, according to court documents. Many are seeking financial compensation.
The lawsuit in the Virgin Islands appears to be the first filed against the estate in that jurisdiction. Mr. Epstein maintained his legal permanent residence — and his estate — there. He hastily filed his will in a Virgin Islands court just days before he killed himself.
Ms. George’s lawsuit also seeks to head off an effort by Mr. Epstein’s executors, including Mr. Indyke, to turn Mr. Epstein’s vast wealth into a victim’s compensatory fund. That proposal is currently being litigated in a separate Virgin Islands case and imposes confidentiality on any claimants, Ms. George said.
“The estate continues to engage in a course of conduct aimed at concealing the criminal activities of the Epstein enterprise,” the lawsuit said.
Administrators of the estate denied that characterization in a statement they released on Wednesday evening, and said the compensatory fund would be wholly independent from Mr. Epstein’s estate and its executors.
“Individuals participating in the program have absolutely no obligation to keep confidential any aspects of their claim,” it said, on behalf of the estate’s coexecutors.
In a statement when that fund was first announced, Mr. Indyke said it would give victims “the opportunity to obtain appropriate compensation and to be heard and treated with compassion, dignity and respect.”
Jeffrey Epstein is accused of trafficking and sexually abusing young women and girls, some who appeared as young as 11, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The late sex offender's planes, helicopters, boat and automobiles transported victims to his private islands in the Caribbean where he raped and held them captive, according to the suit filed in superior court in St. Thomas. The government is seeking the forfeiture under criminal enterprise laws of assets in the islands it estimates at around $578 million, including entities that hold properties in New York, Palm Beach and Paris.
In a press conference on Wednesday, U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George said the lawsuit was separate from the several brought against Epstein's estate by individual victims. "Today the Virgin Islands is standing up on its own for justice," she said.
A lawyer for Epstein's estate, which has been seeking to set up a compensation fund to resolve victims' claims, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
The extent of the abuse that took place on the islands, Great St. James and Little St. James, has been the source of much conjecture since Epstein's arrest in July on charges that he sexually abused and exploited dozens of girls. Epstein died by suicide in jail in August.
As well as his estate, the lawsuit also targets -- but doesn't name -- associates of Epstein who helped him carry out his crimes. The suit describes a "trafficking pyramid scheme," where associates would target underage girls on the pretext of providing massages before they were then pressured to engage in sexual acts. Those victims were then forced to recruit others.
Epstein carried out "an expansive scheme of human trafficking and sexual abuse of young women" and concealed it with an elaborate scheme of entities, said George, who took office in April.
Epstein's resources -- his estate is valued at almost $600 million -- enabled him to skirt scrutiny, according to the suit.
"Monitoring a sex offender with his own private islands and the resources to fly victims in and out on private planes and helicopters presented unique challenges."
That included refusing to let investigators step foot on Little St. James when they came to check up on the sex offender. Instead he met them at his St. Thomas office. To preserve that privacy and seclusion, Epstein went so far as to spend more than $20 million on Great St. James, the nearest island to Little St. James in a bid "to ensure the island didn't become a base from which others could view their activities or visitors."
The complaint details a 15-year-old girl who attempted to escape by swimming from Little St. James. Epstein and others organized a search party that found her and confiscated her passport. A computerized database was maintained with a list of underage girls.
Evidence cited in the complaint, including flight logs, allege that the crimes started at least in 2001 and carried on until 2019, a decade after he served time in a Palm Beach jail on charges of procuring a minor for prostitution, in a case involving a secretive plea deal. The filing is frank about the difficulty of unpicking the web of assets through which Epstein conducted his activities.
"Epstein maintained a deliberately complex web of Virgin Islands corporations, limited liability companies, foundations, and other entities, not all of which are yet known to the Government of the Virgin Islands," the lawsuit says.



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South Punjab News : Virgin Island-Hundreds of young women and girls were sexually assaulted
Virgin Island-Hundreds of young women and girls were sexually assaulted
A lawyer for Epstein's estate, which has been seeking to set up a compensation fund to resolve victims' claims, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
South Punjab News
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