Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein arrested, faces new charges of sex trafficking of minors
A new indictment alleges that Epstein paid dozens of underage girls for “massages” and molested them
Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein — who more than a decade ago reached a plea deal for the molestation of minors — was arrested in New York on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking, according to the New York Times.
The hedge funder will appear in Manhattan federal court on Monday, reportedly facing one count of sex trafficking involving minors and one count of conspiring to engage in such trafficking, the Times reported, citing CBS Miami. That could result in a prison sentence as long as 45 years.
The new indictment reportedly accuses Epstein of sexual molestation of underage girls, paying them for “massages” and then molesting them in his Palm Beach residence or his Herbert N. Straus mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, according to the Daily Beast. Epstein also owns homes in Paris, the Virgin Islands and Stanley, New Mexico. His legal representative declined to comment to the publication.
It’s a similar scheme to what Epstein was charged of in Florida in 2008. At the time, he reached a controversial plea deal on charges of soliciting prostitution. He served 13 months in county jail, but was allowed to leave six days a week to work out of his office, according to the Times.
A three-part series in the Miami Herald detailed how Epstein used his wealth, power and influence to shield himself from prosecution in 2007 and 2008.
The new charges come at a time when industries are facing a heightened level of scrutiny over harassment, discrimination and more because of the national #MeToo movement. The Public Corruption Unit of the Southern District of New York is handling the case against Epstein with help from the district’s human-trafficking personnel and the FBI. [NYT, Daily Beast] – Mike Seemuth