Federal prosecutors identified his number of victims at 36. The Miami Herald reported it found 80. Accounts given by the victims themselves suggest there may be hundreds.
Hundreds of underage girls – some as young as 13 – often troubled children, neglected by abusive parents.
Jeffrey Epstein, close friend of Bill Clinton, lured them to his Palm Beach estate with promises of easy money.
There, Epstein would rape them. Repeatedly. The hedge fund manager went through as many as three a day. Those girls were then sent back to the streets to recruit others. (Miami Herald)
And as retired Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter, who supervised the 2005 police investigation into this crime, told the Herald, “This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story.” Moreover, the stories were backed up by a trove of physical evidence. Epstein could have been put away for life.
Instead, Miami federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta offered the rich man a deal. He would plead guilty to just two charges of prostitution involving one 14-year-old girl. An ongoing FBI investigation would be shut down. He would serve 13 months.
Thirteen months for destroying countless lives.
It’s hard to know what to be angriest about.
There’s Epstein, of course, seen in his mugshot smirking at the camera. There’s Sarah Kellen Vickers, who allegedly scheduled his “massages.” There’s British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly (she denies it) organized sex parties and taught girls to perform to Epstein’s satisfaction. There’s a culture that, when faced with acts of exploitation and rape against women and girls, ponders how it can make the problem go away so as not to inconvenience the men.
And there’s Acosta, who worked with Epstein’s attorneys to shield this from the press, who failed to notify victims about the deal, though federal law required him to, who called a 14-year-old victim a “child prostitute.” As human-rights attorney Yasmin Vafa told the Herald, “There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Under federal law, it’s called child sex trafficking.”
Epstein served his 13-month sentence in a private wing of the local jail. Sex offenders aren’t permitted work release, yet he received 12 hours a day, six days a week, at his office.
Epstein faces a civil suit Tuesday.
Almost all of his victims remain destitute. Many became addicted to drugs. Some are in prison. Few have jobs or meaningful relationships.