CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — Ask about Jeffrey Epstein on St. Thomas and rooms go quiet.
The 66-year-old billionaire bought Little St. James Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and transformed it — clearing native vegetation, ringing a mansion with towering palm trees. Guards would walk to the water's edge when scuba divers appeared.
It was off-putting to residents of the lush tropical territory east of Puerto Rico. Then, when Epstein pleaded guilty in a 2008 to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, his need for privacy began to appear more sinister.
Federal authorities consider the island to be Epstein's primary residence in the United States. It'swhere at least one alleged victim said in a court affidavit that she participated in an orgy.
Epstein pleaded not guilty this week to sexual abuse charges.