Little Saint James, U.S. Virgin Islands
Overview of Little Saint James
|Highest point||25 m|
|Area covered||0.32 km2 (0.12 sq mi)|
Little Saint James is a private island of the United States Virgin Islands, off the coast of St. Thomas and belongs to subdistrict East End, Saint Thomas. The island, owned by American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein from 1998 until his 2019 death, is 70–78 acres (28–32 ha).
It has been dubbed the "Island of Sin". Little Saint James is also known to locals as "Pedophile Island" and "Orgy Island". According to The Independent, "Epstein's island developed a reputation for depravity, and it is alleged that teenage girls were made to take part in orgies on Little St. James."
According to public records, the island was once worth $3 million and owned by a woman who died in a chalet in Switzerland. In 1997, Little St. James was owned by venture capitalist Arch Cummin and was for sale for $10.5 million. In April 1998, a company called L.S.J. LLC purchased the island for $7.95 million, and additional documents showed that Jeffrey Epstein was the sole member of L.S.J. In 2019, the island was valued at $63,874,223. The island was Epstein's primary residence and he called the island "Little St. Jeff". The main house on the island was renovated by Edward Tuttle, a designer of the Aman Resorts. In 2008, Epstein's estate on Little Saint James had 70 staff. According to a former staffer, Epstein insisted on secrecy from his employees.
In 1997, the island had a main house, three guest cottages, a caretaker's cottage, a private desalination system, a helipad and a dock. By 2015, the island had a library, Japanese bathhouse, cinema, lagoon and cabañas. In addition, there is also a blue-striped boxlike building that initially was topped by a golden dome. The purpose of this construction is unclear; it does not appear to match the plans for a music pavilion that had been submitted by Epstein's architects for approval in 2010.
Court papers allege that visitors included "prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well known prime minister and other world leaders". According to flight logs, Prince Andrew, Duke of York paid at least one visit aboard Epstein's private jet to the island, although former staff claimed he visited Little St. James several times. According to a former employee, Victoria's Secret models were among the guests he saw there, and Les Wexner visited the island at least once.
Before Epstein was charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, Stephen Hawking visited the island with of a group of particle physicists, cosmologists and theorists, including three Nobel laureates and experts on gravity, dark matter and string theory. All had been invited to attend a conference funded by Epstein. A March 2006 photograph on Little St. James shows Hawking, David Gross and Lisa Randall at a barbecue during the conference. Other visitors have included Gerard 't Hooft, Frank Wilczek, Lawrence Krauss and Martin Nowak. Krauss said most of the conference took place on the neighbouring island of St. Thomas, but Epstein had thrown a party on Little St. James.
Bill Clinton is widely reported to have visited Little St. James. According to The Independent, Clinton flew on Epstein's private jet to Little St. James on multiple occasions between 2002 and 2005. According to Newsweek, Bill Clinton had been to Little St. James as part of Epstein's circle. Virginia Roberts, later known as Virginia Giuffre, claims in a lawsuit that she was lured into a sex-trafficking ring run by Epstein, and while traveling with Epstein she saw Clinton on the island. In a 2011 conversation with her lawyers, Roberts claimed Clinton traveled to Epstein's retreat on Little St. James in 2002. A Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service records of visits Clinton may have made to Little St. James produced no such evidence. According to Epstein's flight logs, Clinton never flew near the U.S. Virgin Islands. A Clinton spokesperson issued a statement saying Clinton never visited the island.
Alleged sexual abuse
According to attorneys for Epstein's alleged victims, Little St. James is where many of the worst crimes against minors were committed by Epstein and friends who traveled there with him. Court documents allege that the then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts was forced by Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions – in London, New York, and as part of an orgy on Little St. James. Buckingham Palace has denied this allegation. A lawyer for Epstein has described the allegations of orgies by Roberts as "old and discredited".
According to locals, Epstein continued to bring underage girls to the island in 2019, after he was registered as a sex offender, and authorities did nothing to stop him. In August 2019, following Epstein's death, FBI agents searched Epstein's residence on Little St. James.
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