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Jeffrey Epstein abused girls as young as 12 on private island until last year, new lawsuit claims

A new legal action against the disgraced financier’s estate has been launched by the US Virgin Islands.

Image: AP/PA Images

FINANCIER JEFFREY EPSTEIN may have sexually abused and trafficked girls as young as 12 on his private island until as recently as 2019, according to a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the government of the US Virgin Islands, who are attempting to sure Epstein’s estate for damages, sheds new light on the extent of the late 66-year-old’s alleged criminal behaviour.

Epstein, who took his own life while he awaited trial for sex crimes in a high-security New York jail last year, is alleged to have raped and held dozens of women captive on Little Saint James island in the Caribbean.

The wealthy hedge fund manager was convicted in 2008 of paying young girls for massages, but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.

Dozens of women have come forward to say they were abused by him following his death, and several have sued his estate for damages.

Epstein is also accused of bringing girls between the ages of 12 and 17 to the island by boat, helicopter and plane between 2001 and 2019.

Prosecutors also allege that he kept a computerised list of potential victims, and ran a “trafficking pyramid scheme” whereby underage victims were forced to recruit other women to perform sexual acts.

“Jeffrey Epstein carried out an expansive scheme of human trafficking and sexual abuse of young women,” Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George said.

In July, prosecutors charged Epstein with one count of sex trafficking of children and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children in New York and Florida.

The charges related to crimes allegedly committed between 2002 and 2005.

The new lawsuit says that air traffic controllers in the Virgin Islands saw Epstein leave his private plane with girls who looked 11 years old in 2018.

The same year, he also refused investigators who were monitoring him – as a registered sex offender – access to his island and sought to meet them at his office instead.

The lawsuit also records that a 15-year-old girl who was forced to engage in sex acts with Epstein and others once tried to flee his island by swimming, but that she was caught and held captive.

His victims included aspiring models from South America, the documents showed.

- © AFP 2020

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