This article originally appeared on VICE US.
The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is going after Jeffrey Epstein's estate and his private islands, arguing the financier used the secluded getaways to abuse a legion of young girls over the span of two decades.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Epstein’s estate seeks the forfeiture of his two multimillion-dollar islands — one of which, Little St. James, is locally dubbed “pedophile island.” That island estate was raided by the federal government shortly after Epstein’s August suicide in a Manhatttan jail cell. It’s also a place where, from at least 2001 to 2018, he allegedly brought girls as young as 12 so he and others could participate “in sexual acts of rape and abuse,” according to Wednesday’s lawsuit. The other nearby island estate, Great St. James, was purchased by Epstein in 2016 so nobody else could live there and see what he was up to, according to the lawsuit.
As recently as 2018, the federal government had investigated whether Epstein — as a registered sex offender and accused human trafficker — jetted off to those island estates explicity so he could abuse young girls. An air traffic controller even reported to the U.S. Marshals Service that she twice saw Epstein disembarking his private jet that year with girls who appeared to either be pre-teens or teenagers, prompting a brief investigation into the wealthy financier’s habit of international travel.
In Wednesday’s lawsuit, Epstein is accused of coercing girls into coming with him to the island, where he would take their passports and block communication with anyone not on the islands. One alleged 15-year-old victim attempted to escape Little St. James by swimming, but Epstein formed a search party to track her down, according to the lawsuit.
Epstein was arrested as he disembarked his private jet in July, over allegations that he trafficked and abused a network of young girls. He died by suicide in a Manhattan jail the next month, sparking an investigation into the jail’s allegedly poor oversight. Before his death, he pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations against him.
Cover: This July 9, 2019, file photo shows a portion of Jeffery Epstein's estate on Little Saint James Island, in the U. S. Virgin Islands. (AP Photo/Gianfranco Gaglione, File)