(ABC NEWS) — Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier and registered sex offender with a circle of rich and powerful friends, has been charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York allege that from about 2002 to 2005, Epstein, now 66, “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations,” using cash payments to recruit a “vast network of underage victims,” some of whom were as young as 14 years old.
Epstein “worked and conspired with others, including employees and associates who facilitated his conduct by, among other things, contacting victims and scheduling their sexual encounters with Epstein,” the indictment said.
More than a decade ago, Epstein served just 13 months in jail after reaching a much-criticized plea deal that not only allowed him to plead guilty to two state charges and avoid federal charges for an allegedly broad pattern of similar conduct but also provided him and his alleged co-conspirators with immunity from further federal prosecution.
With Epstein’s sudden arrest over the weekend, however, an investigation long believed to be dormant has been thrust back into the headlines.