The indictment of Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier arrested for sex crimes against minors on Saturday, details a sordid criminal sexual career made possible only because of his wealth and willing helpers.
The federal grand jury’s indictment alleges that Epstein paid minor girls to have sex, and that some of Epstein’s employees and associates — unnamed in the indictment — helped procure the victims. The scenes of the sex crimes were Epstein’s 21,000-square-foot townhouse in Manhattan and his estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Prosecutors charged Epstein with sex trafficking of minors “as young as 14.”
The latest charges are part of a story reaching back years and involving Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Prince Andrew.
The indictment alleges that from about 2002 through 2005, Epstein “enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, minor girls to visit” the two homes to “engage in sex acts with him, after which he would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash.”
The indictment also alleges that Epstein paid the victims to become recruiters; i.e., to find more victims. The Wall Street financier “created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit.”
Epstein knew the girls were minors, the indictment alleges, and “were, for various reasons, often particularly vulnerable to exploitation.” He “intentionally sought out minors” and knew they were minors because they told him.
But Epstein didn’t act alone. He had “employees and associates who facilitated his conduct by, among other things, contacting victims and scheduling their sexual encounters.”
How It Worked
“Victims were initially recruited to provide ‘massages’ to Epstein, which would be performed nude or partially nude, would become increasingly sexual in nature, and would typically include one or more sex acts,” the indictment alleges.
Epstein not only paid the victims “hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter” but also “incentivized his victims to become recruiters by paying these victim-recruiters hundreds of dollars for each girl that they brought” to him, which “maintained a steady supply of new victims to exploit.”
Here’s what typically happened:
When a victim arrived at the New York Residence, she typically would be escorted to a room with a massage table, where she would perform a massage [on Epstein]. The victims, who were as young as 14 years of age, were told ... to partially or fully undress before beginning the “massage.” During the encounter, Epstein would escalate the nature and scope of physical contact with his victim to include, among other things, sex acts such as groping and direct and indirect contact with the victim’s genitals. Epstein typically would also masturbate during these sexualized encounters, ask victims to touch him while he masturbated, and touch victims’ genitals with his hands or with sex toys.
The indictment alleges that Epstein “directed employees and associates, including a New York-based employee” to arrange the encounters. Recruiters “routinely scheduled these encounters” through the same employee, “who sometimes asked the recruiters to bring a specific minor girl.”
Epstein “created a similar network of minor girls to victimize in Palm Beach, Florida.”
The indictment alleges that Epstein abused three victims over a “period of years” with the help of least two employees.
Clinton, Trump, and Prince Andrew
The indictment is causing something of a controversy for the Trump administration because the president’s secretary of labor, Andrew Acosta, then a federal prosecutor, cut a deal in 2008 that let Epstein escape federal charges for similar crimes. Instead, he pleaded to state charges and registered as a sex offender. He served a short jail sentence that included “work release,” the New York Times reported.
Though Trump has denied a close friendship with Epstein and zero knowledge of his crimes, one of Epstein’s victims, who worked at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach, has alleged that she was recruited not only to give Epstein “massages” but also have sex with prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Epstein’s attorney. Dershowitz, who vehemently denied the charge, called the woman a liar, and invited her to sue him for defamation. She did that in April.
Trump has admitted knowing Epstein well. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years,” Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
He enjoyed that social life with Bill Clinton, Fox News divulged in 2016. Clinton, the network reported, flew on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” more at 26 times and ditched his Secret Service detail on five of them.
Epstein was also pals with Britain’s Prince Andrew.
Photo: AP Images