The charges brought last week against billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein are horrifying.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on July 8 charged Epstein and his employees with engaging in a sex-trafficking scheme, bringing dozens of vulnerable girls, some as young as 14, to his Upper East Side mansion and to his palatial compound in Palm Beach, Fla., between 2002 and 2005, the New York Times reported.
Epstein engaged in sex acts with the girls during naked massage sessions, paying them hundreds of dollars in cash, prosecutors said. He also asked some of the girls to recruit other girls, many of whom prosecutors say were underage, and paid them for bringing in new victims, the indictment said.
A trove of lewd photographs of girls was discovered in a safe inside the financier’s Manhattan mansion the same day he was arrested.
“This conduct, as alleged, went on for years and involved dozens of young girls, some as young as 14,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman of the Southern District of New York said. “The alleged behavior shocks the conscience.”
It should shock the conscience of every decent person.
Epstein, a hedge fund manager, avoided the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, largely because of a secret agreement his lawyers struck with federal prosecutors in 2008. His social circle has been filled with the rich and famous, including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.
Clinton’s office said in a statement that he took four trips on Epstein’s private plane — one to Europe, one to Asia and two to Africa — in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation, that he has not been to any of Epstein’s private residences and said he knows nothing about “the terrible crimes” connected to Epstein.
In 2002, Trump described Epstein as “a terrific guy,” telling New York Magazine: “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” On Friday, President Trump told reporters that he “wasn’t a fan” of Epstein.
When news broke of Epstein’s arrest over the long holiday weekend, chatter on social media referenced his famous friends. Sadly, for some the discussion devolved into political preferences, of those on “our side” and “their side” among those who know Epstein.
There are no sides when it comes to trafficking underage girls for sex. No decent person makes an our side/their side distinction among pedophiles.
We want to see the SDNY’s investigation in this case to follow all leads, and file charges against anyone who took part in the sex trafficking of teenage girls. And we mean anyone.
There is a legal phrase in Latin: Fiat justitia ruat caelum. It translates to: “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.”