The estate of disgraced financier and convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was sued by the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday, claiming he abused girls as young as 11 years old on his secluded island in that territory.
Epstein, 66, died in a federal jail in Manhattan in August after he was arrested on new sex trafficking charges of underage females in the early 2000s in Florida and New York.
Epstein’s criminal enterprise “facilitated … the sexual molestation and exploitation of numerous girls” between 2001 until 2018 on his two private islands, said Attorney General Denise George in Superior Court of the Virgin Islands in the new lawsuit, reported CNBC.
“Epstein clearly used the Virgin Islands and his residence in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Little Saint James as a way to be able to conceal and to be able to expand his activity here,” George said, reported the New York Times.
The suit is seeking to forfeit the two islands, which are worth around $86 million, and are seeking monetary damages from Epstein’s estate, according to reports. It is the first lawsuit filed against Epstein’s estate by a government.
The girls were “deceptively lured” to the island and recruited “with money and promises of employment, career opportunities and school assistance,” the suit also said. When they arrived on the island, the girls sometimes had their passports held and were not able to communicate with people who were not on the islands, according to the lawsuit, which also said they were threatened.
What’s more, Epstein allegedly kept a computerized database to track the movements of the girls. In one incident, Epstein and his associates allegedly organized a party to find a 15-year-old girl who tried to swim away, according to the court papers, the NY Times reported.
“We will not remain complacent, and we will enforce our laws,” George said. “It doesn’t matter the social status of the person. It’s that the laws apply equally.”
The two islands that he owned were Little St. James and Great St. James, located about two miles from St. Thomas, a larger island with a population of around 50,000.
According to the suit, Epstein purchased Little St. James in the late 1990s “as the perfect hideway (sic) for trafficking young women and underage girls for sexual servitude, child abuse and sexual assault,” according to CNBC. He then bought Great St. James for more than $20 million in 2016, it alleged.
The lawsuit also provided more details about his alleged crimes as recently as 2018.
“Air traffic controllers and other airport personnel reported seeing Epstein leave his plane with young girls some of whom appeared to be between the age of 11 and 18 years,” it said, referring to an incident two years ago.
After Epstein died inside his Manhattan jail cell last summer, the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that his death was a suicide by hanging. However, a doctor who was hired by his brother, Mark Epstein, triggered intense speculation after saying Epstein’s injuries appear more consistent with homicide, not suicide.
To add to the theories about his death, prosecutors Maurene Comey and Jason Swergold wrote this week that the video that was captured from outside his cell “no longer exists,” blaming a mix-up when they asked the jail to preserve the footage.