Court publishes Epstein sex trafficking charges

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48912797

Florida Department of Law Enforcement sex offenders card on Jeffrey Epstein.Image copyright
Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Image caption

Jeffrey Epstein is accused of running a vast network of underage girls

Wealthy US financier and friend of the powerful, Jeffrey Epstein, has been formally charged in New York with running “a vast network” of underage girls for sex.

The indictment alleges he enticed minors to visit his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

According to the charges, the girls, some as young as 14, were given hundreds of dollars for sex acts.

Epstein is expected to plead not guilty to the charges.

He faces one count of sex trafficking and one of sex trafficking conspiracy.

The 66-year-old hedge fund manager was arrested on Saturday at Teterboro Airport after arriving from France on his private jet.

He is due to appear in court. Reports suggest he could remain in custody until a bail hearing on Thursday.

What does the charge sheet say?

The indictment alleges Epstein knew his victims were under 18.

Often they would be invited to perform a massage on the naked Epstein before being subjected to sexual abuse, it says.

The accused “also paid certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused”, the document alleges.

He conspired with others “including employees and associates” who helped schedule encounters at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach residence, it is alleged.

What about previous allegations?

Epstein, once a friend of Prince Andrew, former US President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump, was previously accused of abusing dozens of teenage girls between 1999 and 2007.

But he reached a plea deal to avoid federal sex trafficking charges in the case.

He instead pleaded guilty in 2008 to lesser Florida state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution.

He spent 13 months in jail and registered as a sex offender, avoiding a possible life sentence.

Earlier this year, a Florida judge ruled that federal prosecutors broke the law by not informing Epstein’s victims of the plea deal at the time.

Judge Kenneth Marra is currently deciding whether the non-prosecution agreement that protected Epstein from the more serious charges should still stand.

Following the ruling, the White House said it was also “looking into” Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta’s role in the plea deal, which he approved in his previous role as a US attorney.

Epstein in December deprived his alleged victims of the chance to testify against him for the first time by reaching a last-minute agreement to settle a civil lawsuit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *