Jeffrey Epstein (Getty Images)
According to the Associated Press, Jeffrey Epstein, one of New York’s most prominent businessmen, former publisher and possible front man for a shadowy international network of princes and members of the royal family, is under investigation by the FBI for a child sex ring.
The network of illegal activities stems from the now-defunct Perverted Justice charity, founded by actor and comedian Chris Penn, which ran sting operations to discover sexual predators and bring them to justice.
Founded in 2004, Perverted Justice claims that it has made more than 250 arrests, but due to the relative anonymity of high-profile individuals, they were either refused charges or never convicted.
Jeffrey Epstein, 62, was jailed on June 24, 2001 in Florida for solicitation of a minor for prostitution. After his release, on November 13, 2003, he was required to register as a sex offender and was required to stay within five miles of the entry and exit to Palm Beach County.
What charges did Jeffrey Epstein face?
Also named as being under investigation by the FBI for his connections to the Perverted Justice charity are two other prominent businessmen: Anthony Mielke, the New York-based co-founder of the Haitian Revolution, and Marc Newhouse, who was executive director of the charity between 2008 and 2009.
The arrest of Epstein is what brought the Perverted Justice charity to its knees. The charity was helping hundreds of potential child sex offenders as well as predators who were collecting money for them.
The charity ran sting operations to flush out people accused of molesting children, and was able to identify alleged victims and bring them to justice.
Mielke is suspected of trading money for sex with teenage girls aged as young as 16, from models to middle-school students. During this period, many of the children referred to as victims were girls mentored by then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s niece and current top Bush adviser, Liz Cheney.
It is thought that a grand jury is currently being convened to hear from the eight people who remain under investigation. However, it is also thought that the probe could be over after investigators stepped in to stop Mielke and his co-conspirators from going on to make more money.
What did Jeff Epstein do?
In a recent interview with ABC News, Jeff Epstein said that he was “surprised” to learn that his role in the Perverted Justice charity was “scandalous”.
Epstein denies any involvement in any of the sex crimes or child abuse and claims that he was “not the principal, not the ringleader” of the network.
In a recent interview with ABC News, Epstein said that he was “surprised” to learn that his role in the Perverted Justice charity was “scandalous”.
He added: “For me, it’s very personal. The allegations are false. I have never practiced the sex trade. There are no victims of my own.”
What has he said about the allegations?
Speaking to ABC News, Epstein described how he never said anything to the police or prosecutors “about a non-consensual sex act or on someone aged 18 to 19”.
Asked what was his intention when he was running the charity, Epstein said: “I was trying to give resources to children, primarily abusing high-net-worth individuals in the world to protect them.”
What do the allegations say?
Photographs recovered from Epstein’s home show him in the company of well-heeled guests and models. According to attorneys, he was in frequent contact with the Perverted Justice charity through mid-2007.
According to federal investigators, one of the charity’s outings was organized by Epstein and included participants in Miami including 14-year-old Elizabeth Doe. She described her experience at Epstein’s hands as “torture”.
Elizabeth Doe claimed that she was invited to Epstein’s home by people who she assumed were police, who accompanied her to the charitable event.
Jeffrey Epstein was due to appear before the grand jury in Florida in February, but had his application for immunity from prosecution rejected. This was later followed by the failure of the charity to raise enough money to pay for the hunt for real underage predators.
Click here to read the full story.