On Tuesday, over seven months after the arrest of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Denise N. George, filed a lawsuit against his estate, vastly expanding the purview of his alleged criminal activity and sex trafficking.
According to the suit, Epstein was bringing girls potentially as young as 11 years old to his private island of Little St. James, and maintained a database to track the movement of his victims. Crucially, it also alleges that he was trafficking children and young women as late as 2018; prosecutors in Manhattan initially had evidence that he had abused dozens of victims in New York and Florida, but only up to 2005.
Disturbing details from the lawsuit could re-center the narrative of Epstein’s victims, who have been sidelined as the public debates — with varying levels of sincerity — his apparent suicide in August. According to the suit, Epstein and his associates conducted a search party to find a 15-year-old who attempted to swim away from his private island, and kept her passport to control her movement. Similar to his operation detailed in the Manhattan indictment, Epstein used his associates to find and manipulate young women and girls, and used fake modeling visas to transport them across state and international lines. Court documents state that Epstein’s victims in the Virgin Islands often included aspiring models from South America; the continent’s north shore is a short flight from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“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 on Tuesday, arguing that his private island was the fulcrum for his sex-trafficking operation. The suit in the Virgin Islands seeks the forfeiture of both of Epstein’s private islands, and the liquidation of his Virgin Island shell companies, which the territory claims were fronts for his trafficking operation. After the dissolution, the government may allocate the estate’s assets to survivors who experienced abuse in the territory.