Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking
Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy.
Mr Epstein was arrested over the weekend after returning to the United States from Paris.
Mr Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls”, prosecutors allege in a newly unsealed 13-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment.
Some of the victims were 14 years old, prosecutors claim.
Mr Epstein is accused of recruiting underage girls to perform massages before molesting them and paying them “hundreds of dollars in cash”, according to the indictment.
“In order to maintain and increase his supply of victims”, the indictment alleges, he would pay some of the victims to lure others.
He allegedly committed these crimes between 2002 and 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
“While the charge conduct is from a number of years ago, the victims — then children and now young women — are no less entitled to their day in court,” Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
“My office is proud to stand up for these victims.”
Mr Epstein faced a potential federal indictment on similar accusations in 2007.
However, he was handed a 13-month jail sentence in 2008 in a deal that saw him plead guilty to a lesser felony prostitution charge.
This allowed him to leave to go to his office during the day, while he also agreed to register as a sex offender.
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