The government of the United States Virgin Islands is suing the estate of Jeffrey Epstein for his activities on property he owned in the island archipelago, which allegedly included the trafficking and sexual abuse of underage girls, CNBC reports.
Epstein — the convicted sex offender and wealthy financier who hobnobbed with some of the world’s most powerful men — owned two private islands near St. Thomas, Little St. James and Great St. James. The private islands are about two miles away from the main island. Epstein allegedly used the islands’ remoteness and privacy to carry out his criminal enterprise.
That criminal enterprise allegedly included “the sexual molestation and exploitation of numerous girls,” USVI Attorney General Denise George said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The girls, according to the lawsuit, ranged in age from 12-years-old to 17-years-old and were “deceptively lured” to the islands “with money and promises of employment, career opportunities and school assistance.” There, Epstein and other abusers allegedly “participated in sexual acts of rape and abuse of minors.”
The suit also claims that victims then were forced “to recruit others to perform services and engage in sexual acts — a trafficking pyramid scheme.”
Named as co-defendants in the lawsuit are several companies previously controlled by Epstein, as well as unidentified “John and Jane Does” who allegedly facilitated and participated in the sexual abuse of underage girls.
Epstein purchased Little St. James in 1998. The suit describes the island as “the perfect hideaway for trafficking young women and underage girls for sexual servitude, child abuse and sexual assault.”
Within sight of the island is the larger Great St. Island. The suit alleges that Epstein used a third-party “straw purchaser” to buy the island for $20 million. In doing so, he was allegedly able to prevent anyone else from owning it and possibly catching a glimpse of what was going on at his other island.
One alleged victim is believed to have attempted to escape the smaller island and swim away. Epstein and unidentified co-conspirators allegedly formed a search party and found the girl. They then reportedly confiscated her passport. Another victim also tried to swim away. In that case, Epstein allegedly threatened her with “physical restraint” if she tried to escape again.
The two islands are believed to be worth about $86 million, while the remainder of Epstein’s estate is estimated to be worth around $575 million.
At this time, it remains unclear what damages the USVI suit is seeking.