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“I’m A Sex Offender, Not A Predator”–How A Pedophile Buys His Way Out?

March 25, 2011
Mug shot obtained from Palm Beach County Sheri...

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Everyone likes to believe that no one could buy their way out of sexually exploiting little girls or raping them, all except the people who have supposedly done it, Jerry Epstein, a registered sex offender who was reputedly “given” 3 twelve-year old little girls as a “gift.” And while the victims are now suing, because their “sex offender, not predator” was “given” a lesser sentence, the money Jeffrey Epstein has poured into the system seems to have given him a lot of room to evade charges:

One challenge, according to the story, is the fact that some of the most damning allegations made in court documents — including charges that he was “given” three twelve-year-old girls from France as a “birthday gift” — emerged too late. This week, some of the victims sued under the Victims Crimes Act, contesting the “non-prosecution agreement.”

And then there was a legal team that included Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz. The U.S. attorney claims in a letter that there was a “year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors…One member of the defense team warned me that the office’s excess zeal in forcing a good man to serve time in jail might be the subject of a book if we continued.” He added, “Defense counsel investigated individual prosecutors and their families,” and “often failed to negotiate in good faith. They would obtain concessions as part of a negotiation and agree to proceed, only to change their minds, and appeal the office’s position to Washington.”

Legal wrangling aside, Epstein’s life has pretty much gone back to normal. He hosted a dinner party for Prince Andrew last month, which was attended by Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, and Charlie Rose. And he recently cracked to the New York Post, “I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender.'” What’s the distinction? “It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”

In a tale that hints at corruption in the uppermost echelon of Florida’s legal system of prosecution, news reports indicate that federal charges should have been filed against Epstein.  While Epstein and his attorneys may have thought that they passed the last round of legal investigations, others are pushing to have the case revisited, and entertaining the prospect of investigating Epstein’s financial dealings as well:

Why did Acosta decide to voice his opinions now? In part, he clearly is reacting to ongoing criticism that Epstein’s puny punishment did not fit his crimes. “Some may feel that the prosecution should have been tougher,” Acosta writes. “Evidence that has come to light since 2007 may encourage that view. Many victims have since spoken out…physical evidence has since been discovered.”

Acosta may also have chosen to come forward now because, on Monday, attorneys for a number of those victims filed suit under the Victims Crimes Rights Act to challenge the “non-prosecution agreement” that ultimately resulted from all the wrangling, claiming that they were not consulted. The U.S. Attorney’s office, now led by Wifredo A. Ferrer, has indicated it will file a response to the suit on April 7.

In his letter, Acosta also takes issue with the way Epstein’s sentence was carried out: “Although the terms of confinement in a state prison are a matter appropriately left to the State of Florida…without doubt, the treatment that he received while in state custody undermined the purpose of a jail sentence.” Indeed, Epstein’s brief confinement likely reinforced a perception that he had merely succumbed to a nuisance suit. Such a gross misapprehension would help account for the apparent ease with which Epstein has rejoined the ranks of a social elite. Katie Couric, Woody Allen, and George Stephanopoulos, among others, attended a dinner party he hosted for Prince Andrew in December, and New York authorities seem to be either unaware or unconcerned that his Upper East Side home is within 1,000 feet of an Episcopal pre-school, in violation of sex-offender laws.

Yet a source tells The Daily Beast that Epstein’s legal troubles may not be over. It is possible that, as an outgrowth of the 2007 Florida investigation, federal investigators are now looking into allegations of money laundering and other financial misdeeds. Villafana notes at the end of her letter to Lefkowitz: “You accuse me of broadening the scope of the investigation without any foundation for doing so by adding charges of money laundering and violations of a money transmitting business to the investigation. Again, I consulted with the Justice Department’s Money Laundering Section about my analysis…the duty officer agreed with my analysis.”

In almost all the cases of sexual exploitation of young girls and women for money, there is a form of money laundering taking place, and on the street it’s called by the popular euphemism “pimping.”  While Epstein may have financial sources that provide reputable income, there is no “reputable” way to profit from sexually exploiting young girls.

The website, Jezebel, posted an earlier piece on Epstein which states that he not only paid off past victims, and we are talking over 15 women stating they were assaulted by Epstein, raped maybe, but Epstein also apparently paid off the police department and other governmental agencies to have more control over his sentence:

This week, Epstein finished paying his debts to society, which despite at least 18 women, some underage, telling authorities that the “massages” they were paid for turned into sexual assault — were deemed to be 13 months in the “county stockade,” during which Epstein was allowed out on “work release six days a week for up to 16 hours a day,” according to the Palm Beach Daily News. He then spent a year on house arrest in his Palm Beach mansion, which somehow included getting to fly around on his private jets and go to “Home Depot and Sports Authority for large periods of time.” (Multimillionaire sex offenders: They’re just like us!)

It didn’t have to be this way: as The Timesreported in 2008, “Federal prosecutors initially threatened to bring him to trial on a variety of charges and seek the maximum penalty, 10 years in prison. After years of legal wrangling, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges.” That legal wrangling was performed by the likes of Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz and several of South Florida’s best lawyers, enabled by the money manager’s considerable funds — like Mel Gibson recently learned, lawyer friends can be awfully loyal at the right price.

So can the police. According to the Daily Beast‘s Conchita Sarnoff, Epstein had already made generous donations to the local police department long before he was being investigated. The police chief eventually objected to Epstein’s “special treatment.”

And according to one legal expert interviewed by the Daily News, referring to the civil settlements paid out to over a dozen of the women involved, “A normal person doesn’t have the ability to give justice out in money,” Williams said. “The bottom line: when you throw money into the mix, everything changes.” The Daily Beast says each woman received “well over $1 million.”

Everyone knows you pay off people when you’re innocent, right?

Jeffrey Epstein is this eccentric billionaire who broke news a few months back when it was discovered he kept a harem of teenage sex slaves tending to the extensive collection of vibrators and dildos and lighting the vagina-shaped candles littered throughout his Palm Beach Estate, and today’s New York Magazine has a story brimming with nauseating details: he had an egg-shaped penis (and egg-sized? the story doesn’t say; we call self-censorship!) He had an 18-year-old assistant set him up with 14-year-old girls! (Or something; there were fourteen year olds, and 21-year-olds; lots of girls, lots of massages, ew ew ew.) He thinks he did nothing wrong! Say all his pals, “It’s kind of interesting because he thinks he did nothing wrong!” There’s Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff saying, well, see, the only problem is that having this sort of Hugh Hefner lifestyle is kinda outdated these days…There’s Alan Dershowitz, dredging up slutty shit deets from the girls’ MySpace pages! There’s Jeffrey’s defense: I just like massages! I made a donation to some fund that gives away free massages! It’s an anti-Semitic conspiracy! Then there’s the creepy fact that when the first known victim came to police to tell her story, they produced a picture of Epstein on the police lineup, but no one is sure how it got there.

Now we know that Epstein paid a lot of money to get himself out of the legal tangles, but what no one talks about is how much of that money went toward shortening his sentence.  Were the lawyers for him that good, or was the money used to bribe some of Florida’s officials?

While Epstein likens himself to Hugh Hefner, and claims the girls were all 18, the larger picture encompasses a broad range of governmental agencies that failed to produce charges that were legally appropriate.

Epstein mounted an aggressive counterinvestigation. Epstein’s friend Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, provided the police and the state attorney’s office with a dossier on a couple of the victims gleaned from their MySpace sites—showing alcohol and drug use and lewd comments. The police complained that private investigators were harassing the family of the 14-year-old girl before she was to appear before the grand jury in spring 2006. The police said that one girl had called another to say, “Those who help [Epstein] will be compensated and those who hurt him will be dealt with.”

By then, the case was politicized. The Palm Beach police had brought stacks of evidence across the waterway to the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office, but the state attorney apparently saw the main witnesses as weak. One had run away from home, lied about her age, and bragged about her ass on MySpace. Another had a drug arrest and had stolen from Victoria’s Secret. The police wanted numerous felony charges against Epstein as well as charges against Haley Robson and Sarah Kellen. Then they heard that the state attorney was preparing a deal with Epstein giving him five years on probation and sending him for psychiatric evaluation. The police chief, Michael Reiter, accused the state attorney of bending over backward for a rich man and then turned the matter over to the FBI.

Finally, in July 2006, the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office handed down one indictment of Epstein on a felony count of soliciting prostitution. There is no reference to minors in the indictment. Reiter was enraged. He released a letter he had sent out to five underage girls that read “I do not feel that justice has been sufficiently served.”Epstein’s lawyer said that Reiter was out of control, but the police chief was having an effect. The U.S. Attorney’s office began an investigation, and the dream team added another member, Kenneth Starr, the former Clinton prosecutor.

Somehow, in the midst of the discussion about his wealth, and whether or not poor underage girls get the same justice as those from wealthy  neighborhoods, lies the unspeakable truth that lots of other grown adults supported Epstein’s statutory rapes and assaults, people like Katie Couric, British royalty in the form of Prince Andrew who all continue to consort with Epstein.  People who cleaned Epstein’s home, provided young girls, the district attorneys who refused to charge him with more crimes because of teenagers’ MySpace pages, and the list goes on and on.  I am not sure which saddens me more, the fact that young girls can be raped by rich white men who don’t get prosecuted, or the fact that so many other people turn a blind eye.

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