Wealthy political financier Jeffrey Epstein, who has been accused of molesting minors and sex trafficking was arrested by federal authorities in New Jersey on Saturday. Epstein has been accused of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005, according to prosecutors.
The indictment reads that “Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit.” Epstein, accused of abusing young girls in the past has managed to evade a prison sentence and has now been charged again.
He was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking, with prosecutors accusing him of recruiting young girls and abusing them at his homes in New York and Palm Beach. If convicted, Epstein could face up to 45 years in prison.
A timeline of events dating back to 2008 shows that Epstein was already registered as a sex offender in the U.S. Virgin Islands when Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett accepted campaign donations from the billionaire investor.
In 2016, Epstein wrote two separate $2,700 checks for Plaskett’s campaign. Two years later, Epstein contributed $2,700 to Plaskett during her 2018 run for re-election — she was also the only candidate on the ballot jockeying for Delegate to Congress. The congresswoman ended her 2018 midterm victory with over $359,000 in campaign donations.
A spokesperson for Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett has said that the Congresswoman would not be returning the donations. Epstein has argued that any encounters he had with his accusers were consensual and that he believed they were 18 years old at the time.
To exploit tax loopholes, Epstein ran his business out of the U.S. Virgin Islands with it being widely known that he owns nearby Little St. James. Little St. James is also home to Epstein’s foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation.
Epstein has also maintained a close friendship with President Donald Trump, who described Epstein to New York magazine in 2002 as someone who “enjoys his social life.” A police investigation in the early 2000s found that Epstein had sexually abused dozens of girls.
In 2005, a woman filed a report with Florida police accusing a wealthy man of molesting her stepdaughter, according to the Daily Beast. Palm Beach detectives used the tip to investigate Epstein further and identified multiple girls who said Epstein had abused them. Little is known about Epstein’s movements on his private island in the Virgin Islands, reports currently do not tie his private island to allegations of sex trafficking.
The case was then referred to the FBI and in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution — he went on to sign a deal with federal prosecutors.
According to court and police records reviewed by the Miami Herald, Epstein routinely had underage girls brought to his Palm Beach residence, where he would pay them to give him massages. Massages that often turned into sexual intercourse after the girls were coerced into giving him other sexual favors.
The Herald details that he would offer them money to find more girls their age and used his network to recruit more underaged girls at malls and house parties. Since his court case in 2008, Jeffrey Epstein has been a registered sex offender with a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Epstein has been illegally expanding his private residence on Little St. James in recent weeks despite a stop-work order from the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.