By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
HAVANA (AP) — A lawsuit filed by prosecutors in the Virgin Islands says multimillionaire sex offender Jeffery Epstein used two private islands in the U.S. territory to engage in a nearly two-decade conspiracy to traffic and abuse girls.
At one point, the suit filed Wednesday alleges, Epstein and associates organized a search party to catch a 15-year-old victim trying to swim away, and kept her passport to keep her captive.
The lawsuit seeks to confiscate hundreds of millions of dollars from Epstein’s estate in the Virgin Islands, including private islands Little St. James and Great St. James, which the suit values at $86 million.
“The complaint speaks for itself and lays out allegations of a pattern and practice of human trafficking, sexual abuse and forced labor of young women and female children as young as 13 years old,” Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise N. George told reporters Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that even after Epstein’s August suicide by hanging in federal detention in New York, his associates “continued to conspire to prevent detection of the Epstein Enterprise’s criminal wrongdoing and to prevent accountability.”
“These conspiratorial acts are ongoing,” the lawsuit says.
Although he was required to register as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands after pleading guilty in a Florida case, Epstein successfully turned away Virgin Islands officials and U.S. Marshals from Little St. James, saying its dock was his front door.
He arranged to meet the law-enforcement officials at his office on the island of St. Thomas, the lawsuit says.
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