A lawsuit filed by prosecutors in the Virgin Islands says multimillionaire sex offender Jeffery Epstein used two private islands in the US territory to engage in a nearly two-decade conspiracy to traffic and abuse girls, the AP reports. At one point, the suit filed Wednesday alleges, Epstein and associates organized a search party to catch a 15-year-old victim trying to swim away, and kept her passport to keep her captive. The lawsuit seeks to confiscate hundreds of millions of dollars from Epstein's estate in the Virgin Islands, including private islands Little St. James and Great St. James, which the suit values at $86 million. “The complaint speaks for itself and lays out allegations of a pattern and practice of human trafficking, sexual abuse and forced labor of young women and female children as young as 13 years old,” Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise N. George told reporters Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that even after Epstein's August suicide by hanging in federal detention in New York, his associates “continued to conspire to prevent detection of the Epstein Enterprise's criminal wrongdoing and to prevent accountability.” “These conspiratorial acts are ongoing,” the lawsuit says. As CNN explains, "the scheme described in the suit is remarkably similar to the accusations in Epstein's federal criminal case unveiled last July" and involving sex trafficking between 2002 and 2005 at residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach. But while Epstein's lawyers have insisted that after pleading guilty to state prostitution-related charges in Florida in 2005 his record was "spotless," the suit claims the Virgin Islands scheme ran from 2001 to long after 2005, with witnesses reporting that as recently as 2018, they saw Epstein leaving his plane with girls appearing to be as young as 11 years old.
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