Epstein charged with abusing dozens of minors in massive sex trafficking case

By Andrew Denney and Ruth Brown | July 8, 2019

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein “sexually exploited and abused” dozens of underage girls as young as 14 at his homes in New York and Florida in the early 2000s, Manhattan federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment unsealed Monday.

The billionaire financier has been charged with sex trafficking and a related conspiracy count for allegedly creating “a vast network of underage victims” for him to exploit across multiple states from 2002 to 2005, the Manhattan federal court documents say.

Aided by employees and associates, Epstein allegedly paid the girls hundreds of dollars in cash to come to his residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach to give him nude “massages” that would become “increasingly sexual in nature,” prosecutors allege.

“During the encounter, Epstein would escalate the nature and scope of physical contact with his victim to include, among other things, sex acts such as groping and direct and indirect contact with the victim’s genitals,” the indictment alleges.

“Epstein typically would also masturbate during these sexualized encounters, ask victims to touch him while he masturbated, and touch victims’ genitals with his hands or with sex toys.”

To keep “a steady stream of minor victims,” he then “incentivized his victims to become recruiters” by paying them to bring in other girls for him to abuse, prosecutors charge.

Epstein “intentionally sought out” girls under 18 — and knew the girls were underage because some told him how old they were, they allege.

The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan says Epstein was arrested on Saturday and will be hauled in for arraignment sometime Monday.

The indictment shows the feds want to seize the 66-year-old’s lavish townhouse at 9 E. 71st St. — a seven-story, 21,000-square-foot Upper East Side pad that is one of Manhattan’s largest townhouses and allegedly one of the venues for his sick sexual pyramid scheme.

The charges come more than a decade after underage girls first came forward with similar allegations about being paid to perform sex acts on the bigwig and his powerful pals.

Epstein was facing up to life behind bars, but was offered a controversial deal that saw him plead guilty to lesser state charges and serve just 13 months.

The deal — struck by Miami’s then-top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, who is now the US secretary of labor — has come under fresh scrutiny following a 2018 Miami Herald exposé into how it came about.

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