U.S. Virgin Islands sues Epstein estate, alleging sex trafficking

NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Jeffrey Epstein's estate was sued on Wednesday by the U.S. Virgin Islands, which claimed that the late financier sexually abused and trafficked in dozens of young women and girls over nearly two decades on a private Caribbean island.

The complaint filed by Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George significantly broadens the scope of Epstein's alleged sexual misconduct, saying it occurred as recently as 2018 and targeted girls as young as 11 or 12.

It seeks a variety of damages from Epstein's estimated $577.7 million estate, including the forfeiture of his two private islands, Little St. James and Great St. James.

A lawyer for the estate and its executors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit could reduce the sums available for other Epstein accusers who are suing the estate, after his death cost them a chance to see him convicted.

Epstein died Aug. 10 at age 66 by hanging himself in a Manhattan jail cell, after he had pleaded not guilty to charges he abused women and girls in his Manhattan townhouse from 2002 to 2005.

He had pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state prostitution charge and completed a 13-month jail sentence.

According to Wednesday's complaint, Epstein and his alleged accomplices "trafficked, raped, sexually assaulted and held captive underage girls and young women" at his Virgin Islands properties.

It also said Epstein kept a computerized list of underage girls located in or near the Virgin Islands, and who were able to be transported to his residence at Little St. James. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown and Cynthia Osterman)