This case gets more despicable by the day.
Hedge fund billionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein had already gotten a break skating out of a 2008 conviction of soliciting prostitution with minors by taking a plea deal that gave him minimal jail time. And he’s spent many of the ensuing years living a posh lifestyle in New York City.
And before his arrest on more sex charges this weekend, he never once complied with a court order that he check in with the New York City Police Department every 90 days, according to the New York Post.
The latest charges include allegations of sexual trafficking involving at least three underage girls, CNN reported Thursday.
One girl claimed in a her suit that Epstein was aware she was underage during the time he sexually abused her, and even celebrated her sixteenth birthday with her, at one point saying that he would have to “trade her in because she was getting too old.”https://t.co/x60lR8zTJX
— Sonia Moghe (@soniamoghe) July 11, 2019
In a 2011 hearing, Epstein was registered as a sex offender in New York.
As a “Level 3” offender, Epstein should have been checking in with New York authorities every three months.
That means he should have reported in person to the NYPD’s Special Offenders Monitoring Unit in Manhattan 34 times between the 2011 ruling and his arrest on Saturday, the New York Post reported.
Epstein never made one of those required visits to the monitoring office. Worse, neither the NYPD nor the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office seemed to care.
At the 2011 hearing in which Epstein was ordered to be considered a New York resident and a Level 3 offender, Epstein’s attorneys argued that the financier’s New York residence was only a “vacation” home.
Epstein owns his own island, Little St. James Island, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, that was his real primary residence, his attorneys said.
At the same hearing, the Manhattan DA’s office argued that Epstein should be considered a “Level 1” sex offender, which would have meant he wasn’t required to report at all, according to a March report in The Washington Post.
The judge in the case, New York Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz, rejected the arguments of both Epstein’s attorneys and the Manhattan DA. Epstein was a New York sex offender and would have to follow the reporting requirements of Level 3 offenders, Pickholz ruled.
“I am sorry he may have to come here every 90 days,” she said, according to The Washington Post. “He can give up his New York home if he does not want to come every 90 days.”
Except he didn’t give up his home – and he didn’t check in as required.
According to the New York Post, the NYPD is blaming the DA’s office for failing to hold Epstein accountable. The DA’s office, under District Attorney Cyrus Vance, is blaming the NYPD.
A source “familiar with the matter” told the New York Post that the police officer assigned to Epstein’s case “repeatedly complained to Vance’s Sex Crimes Unit that Epstein wasn’t in compliance.”
The officer was just told to write Epstein a reminder of his responsibilities, according to the New York Post.
A spokesman for Vance, however, told the New York Post the cops weren’t coming clean.
The “NYPD — which is the agency responsible for monitoring [sex offender registration] compliance — has repeatedly told us that Mr. Epstein was in full compliance with the law,” Vance spokesman Danny Frost said.
“Our office vigorously prosecutes all failure-to-verify cases. Our prosecutors did not and would not discourage the NYPD from making an arrest.”
Maybe. Current and former police officials told the New York Post they were shocked that the NYPD let Epstein go as long as it apparently did.
“It makes no sense,” one told the newspaper. “The NYPD can’t modify a court order. If the judge says he has to report here, he has to report here.”
It’s tough to know for sure just from the information that’s been made public so far, but it’s a good bet that any run-of-the-mill sex offender — one who wasn’t a billionaire hedge-funder with friends in high places — would have found himself arrested by the NYPD, or any other cops, in short order after missing a reporting requirement.
Missing 34 times? Someone wasn’t interested in making an arrest.
The average sex offender wouldn’t be in a position to argue that his actual permanent residence was a secluded, private piece of land in the U.S. Virgin Islands, accessible by private plane.
Unfortunately for Epstein, who’s being held without bail on his latest charge, that island won’t help him much now.
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