Epstein’s island: What really happened there?
December 10, 2021 Comments Off on Epstein’s island: What really happened there?
Epstein’s island: What really happened there? Accusers say billionaire’s private paradise of Little St James in US Virgin Islands was centre of international sex trafficking ring
Io Dodds San Francisco 12/7/2021
The guests came from across the world, and from the highest ranks of society: celebrities and scientists and members of royal families, touching down in a private jet and then boarding a helicopter to the island. Its owner liked to call it “Little St Jeff”; locals called it “paedophile island”. But what is the truth about Little St James, the 75-acre private paradise in the US Virgin Islands that billionaire sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein once called home? The island is now at the centre of a web of lawsuits and criminal investigations seeking to untangle the life of Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison in 2019 at the age of 66 in what authorities claimed was a suicide.
A criminal complaint from the attorney general of the US Virgin Islands, which is attempting to seize Little St James as government property, described it “the perfect hideaway and haven for trafficking young women and underage girls for sexual servitude, child abuse and sexual assault”. On this island, the compaint says, “Epstein and his associates could avoid detection of their illegal activity from Virgin Islands and federal law enforcement, and prevent these young women and underage girls from leaving freely and escaping the abuse.”…. It was in the Virgins that Epstein registered as a sex offender in 2010, following his first conviction for child prostitution in 2008. He also based his shell companies in a small unmarked office in a seaside strip mall on St Thomas, alongside a Sam’s Mini-mart and a salon called Happy Nails. In 1998, he bought Little St James from venture capitalist Arch Cummin via a shell company, reportedly paying just under $8 million (£6 million). The new owner quickly scoured away all the native vegetation and replaced it with 40-foot palm trees.
Starting in 2007, Epstein began a massive programme of building and remodelling that drew suspicion from local officials. His main compound nearly doubled in size, sprouting into a plush mansion with an outside terrace connecting the master bedroom and the swimming pool, along with a desalination system. Satellite photos show a sprawling network of terraces, cottages, beach houses, swimming pools, docks, utility buildings, a helipad, a tennis court, slipways, some kind of enclosed lake or lagoon, and various huts of unknown purpose, all connected by palm-lined roads where golf buggies ferried guests from place to place (a journey across the island reportedly took about five minutes)…. Who did Epstein host on his island? Of course there were always guests. Among the famous names reportedly hosted by Epstein were theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel laureate Lawrence Krauss, comedian Chris Tucker, actor Kevin Spacey, Victoria’s Secret magnate Les Wexner, model Naomi Campbell, former Tony Blair aide Lord Peter Mandelson, and Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom. It has been claimed that Bill Clinton was also a guest, though he denies ever having been there. Donald Trump reportedly flew on one of Epstein’s private jets, but it is unclear if he visited the island. The magician David Copperfield is even said to have proposed to supermodel Claudia Schiffer there….
Didn’t anyone notice Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking? Certainly they did. From the start, locals on St Thomas whispered darkly about Epstein’s activities, calling his private jets “the Lolita Express”. When scuba divers swam near the island, security guards would reportedly appear to patrol the edge of the water. At one point, Epstein was ferrying about 200 workers back and forth every day to build his projects. “When he was there, it was keep to yourself and do your thing,” one of them told the Associated Press, adding that the mogul would sometimes give away old material or surplus material. Airport staff on St Thomas could see who Epstein was bringing with him on the Express. “On multiple occasions I saw Epstein exit his helicopter, stand on the tarmac in full view of my tower, and board his private jet with children – female children,” a former air traffic controller told Vanity Fair…. Another airstrip employee said: “There’d be girls that look like they could be in high school. They looked very young. They were always wearing college sweatshirts. It seemed like camouflage, that’s the best way to put it. “I could see him with my own eyes. I compared it to seeing a serial killer in broad daylight. I called it the face of evil…. it was like he was flaunting it.” Sometimes the girls would be carrying shopping bags from designer brands such as Gucci and Dior.
The Alexanders also grew suspicious. “They looked like they had stepped out of an underwear catalogue,” Cathy told the Mail. “They walked around with very few clothes on or lounged around by the pool with nothing on. It was like that most of the time. I was concerned about their ages. A few of them looked very young and I couldn’t help but wonder if their mothers knew where they were.” Miles Alexander added that he had sometimes had to refuse Epstein’s requests to smuggle in female guests by boat without logging their names and passport numbers with the government of St Thomas…. What really happened on Epstein’s island? That is the subject of multiple ongoing court cases, but the accusations are shocking. According to a lawsuit filed by Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Giuffre, Little St James was the centre of a worldwide grooming scheme in which recruiters working for Epstein targeted young women who were open to abuse and manipulation, played on their hopes and fears, dazzled them with “displays of vast weath and power”, and then force them to have sex with clients while keeping them in line with threats and blackmail. Ms Giuffre says that Prince Andrew sexually abused her on Little St James when she was 17, which the prince “unequivocally denies”.
The Virgin Islands attorney general’s office makes similar claims, saying: “Between 2001 and 2019 the Epstein Enterprise transported underage girls and young women to the Virgin Islands, who were then taken via helicopter or private vessel to Little St James where they were deceptively subjected to sexual servitude, forced to engage in sexual acts and coerced into commercial sexual activity and forced labour… “To accomplish his illegal ends, Epstein formed an association with multiple defendants and others (both companies and individuals, who were willing to participate in, facilitate, and conceal Epstein’s criminal activity in exchange for Epstein’s bestowal of financial and other benefits, including sexual services and forced labour from victims.”… The complaint also alleges that Little St James served as a prison for the victims, with Epstein controlling all communication with the outside world. It says one 15-year-old tried to escape by swimming, but Epstein organised a search party, recaptured her and confiscated her passport. “Remember, he owns a whole island,” said attorney general Denise George in 2020. “So it wasn’t a situation where a child or a young woman would be able to just break away and run down the street to the nearest police station.” One alleged victim told CBS News that she had been raped in Epstein’s office in St Thomas, and that he had a gun strapped to the bedpost in his bedroom on Little St James. The complaint says Epstein kept a computerised list of underage girls in or near the Virgin Islands who could be brought to the island….