Jeffrey Epstein: sex abuse allegations against billionaire socialite began in 2005


Jeffrey Epstein, 66, is a Brooklyn-born financier who made his name at the investment bank Bear Stearns before opening his own firm in 1982, managing money for clients with wealth in excess of $1bn.

The business came with an intensive social schedule. Epstein set himself up as a party figure in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.

He also sought to become to become a media player, seeking to purchase New York magazine against rivals, including the investor Nelson Peltz and the former movie producer Harvey Weinstein. In 2004, Epstein became an investor in Radar, a celebrity and pop culture magazine.

The first allegations of sexual abuse came in 2005 when a woman contacted the Palm Beach police, alleging her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. The girl was allegedly paid $300 to strip and massage Epstein.

That triggered an 11-month investigation that drew in the FBI. Interviews with alleged victims and witnesses showed that some of the girls involved were under 18.

Epstein’s circle of friends and acquaintances has included Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Leslie Wexner, founder of the company that owns the Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand, and many other prominent names in law, entertainment and politics.

Allegations surrounding Epstein’s personal life have been in and out of the news since he pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution.

Under that plea agreement, Epstein registered as a sex offender in Florida. But under a non-prosecution agreement with a prosecutors, he avoided federal charges which could have carried a hefty jail term.

That agreement was made with prosecutors headed by now US labor secretary Alex Acosta and has come under repeated scrutiny for being seen as too lenient.

In February, a judge ruled prosecutors in the case violated the law by concealing from his underage alleged victims the existence of a plea deal that shielded the financier from federal charges.



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