- Jeffrey Epstein, the financier, has been accused of sex trafficking minors by federal prosecutors, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
- He is expected to appear in court later on Monday.
- The indictment, along with laying out forthcoming charges of child sex trafficking, indicates that prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of his massive New York City mansion on the Upper East Side.
- Read more stories like this on Business Insider’s homepage.
Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and registered sex offender, is expected to appear in federal court Monday following the unsealing of an indictment that lays out charges of child sex trafficking against him.
The indictment, which follows reporting from the Miami Herald, alleges that Epstein recruited multiple girls as young as 14 to engage in sex acts with him, and paid girls to recruit others.
At the end of the indictment, prosecutors say that Epstein should be forced to forfeit his palatial New York City mansion:
“As a result of committing the offence alleged in Count Two of this Indictment, JEFFREY EPSTEIN, the defendant, shall forfeit to the United States… any property, real and personal, that was used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of the offence alleged in Count Two… and the following specific property: a. The lot or parcel of land, together with its buildings, appurtenances, improvements, fixtures, attachments and easements, located at 9 East 71st Street, New York, New York, with block number 1386 and lot number 10, owned by Maple, Inc.”
According to the indictment, Epstein’s New York residence was the site of the abuse of multiple underage girls.
“When a victim arrived at the New York Residence, she typically would be escorted to a room with a massage table, where she would perform a massage on JEFFREY EPSTEIN,” the indictment reads. The victims were allegedly told to undress before or during the “message,” according to the documents.
The indictment continued to describe the alleged encounters, saying, “EPSTEIN would escalate the nature and scope of physical contact with his victim to include, among other things, sex acts such as groping and direct and indirect contact with the victim’s genitals. EPSTEIN typically would also masturbate during these sexualized encounters, ask victims to touch him while he masturbated, and touch victims’ genitals with his hands or with sex toys.”
Prosecutors allege Epstein would personally schedule “appointments,” have an employee schedule them, and ask girls, whom he would pay hundreds of dollars, to recruit others.
Inside Epstein’s mansion, one of the largest townhouses in Manhattan
Epstein’s New York townhouse is one of the largest townhouses in Manhattan, according to Curbed. It has been described as having different dimensions by different people: between 21,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet, between seven to nine stories with 40 rooms.
The mansion at 9 East 71st Street was originally constructed in 1933 for Herbert N. Straus, a Macy’s heir, but he died before its completion. It was later donated to the Catholic Archbishop of New York, who turned it into a convalescent home, before being converted into the Birch Wathen School in 1961, according to Curbed.
Limited Inc founder Leslie H. Wexner, one of Epstein’s clients, reportedly bought the home for $US13.2 million before gut-renovating it. Few images exist of the inside of the mansion – though an unarchived 1996 issue of Architectural Digest featured photos of the interior, according to The New York Times.
The Times described features of the house as like a “James Bond” film, which could be read as more insidious now: “hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink.”
The security features couldn’t prevent the execution of a search warrant Saturday evening.
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) July 8, 2019
According to journalist Vicky Ward, the interior is elaborately decorated. “The entrance hall is decorated not with paintings but with row upon row of individually framed eyeballs,” she wrote in Vanity Fair in 2003. In the foyer, “guests are like pygmies next to the nearby twice-life-size sculpture of a naked African warrior.”
She continued: “Tea is served in the ‘leather room,’ so called because of the cordovan-coloured fabric on the walls. The chairs are covered in a leopard print, and on the wall hangs a huge, Oriental fantasy of a woman holding an opium pipe and caressing a snarling lionskin.”
Other odd details included “a stuffed black poodle,” an office with no computer, and what Epstein called “the largest Persian rug you’ll ever see in a private home,” according to Ward.
The details of how Epstein came to own the home aren’t entirely clear, except that there was some sort of transaction between him and his client Wexner in 1995. Epstein, a suspected multimillionaire or billionaire, was most likely capable of purchasing the home at the time, which was estimated to cost $US20 million, according to New York Magazine, which said in a 2015 profile, “One story has Epstein paying only a dollar for it, though others say he paid full market price.”
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