Jeffrey Epstein and artists: Report charges US legal system has ‘a problem’

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Alabama activist Jane Doe 12 testified about her allegations before a Senate committee in 2017

Six women claim they were sexually abused by financier Jeffrey Epstein before they became teenage girls, and that some were pressured to have sex with him as a “gift”.

The report focuses on people claiming to have been harassed, coerced or blackmailed after complaints of abuse were made.

The groups said that government investigators had declined to speak to people who were believed to have been victims.

Epstein is serving a sentence for soliciting prostitution from children in the US.

In April, the now 80-year-old pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from children in Florida.

Investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by Epstein and the entertainment industry (now accused of turning a blind eye) may be “impossible”, the group said.

Image copyright Andrew Burton Image caption Former Colorado senator Art Torres and others accused of obstruction are named in the report

“From our vantage point the US government and key law enforcement officials have never sufficiently investigated Epstein or his criminal activities. Evidence shows them to be either complicit or incompetent,” the report said.

Among the six women named in the report was Jane Doe 12, who said she was lured from Alabama to Epstein’s mansion by model scout Ryan Pryce at the age of 16.

She told CNN that when she was aged “about 13, 14 and 14” she was “groomed to have sex with a lot of different people” by Epstein’s employees and friends.

In addition to detailing the women’s allegations, the group also noted that those accusing the entertainment industry have never been questioned by prosecutors or authorities.

Madonna’s manager’s role

The US Women’s Collective, an advocacy group, is the only public organisation that has been pursuing the woman who accused former senator Art Torres of obstructing a 2014 investigation into Epstein.

That woman was named by then-FBI director James Comey as someone who resisted the FBI’s investigation into alleged sexual crimes committed by Epstein.

In June 2017, BuzzFeed published reports on five former actresses’ claims they were coerced into sexual acts by the financier.

His attorneys subsequently filed a lawsuit against BuzzFeed News.

The organisation is now investigating whether she should be granted immunity under a non-prosecution agreement that Mr Torres, former SEC chief accountant Carolyn Glauber and five others allegedly struck with Epstein.

Ms Torres, the only named defendant in the suit, is the chairman of the Florida Institute of Contemporary Art, a non-profit where he is the chief executive officer.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Senator Art Torres denies any wrongdoing

Epstein is said to have known a number of prominent entertainment figures and politicians, including musician Billy Idol and actor Richard Gere.

He was friends with Florida Democratic politician Cristobal Alvarez until the US Army Corps of Engineers raided his private island, St Barts, in 2017 as part of the crackdown on international sex tourism.

More than 20 people have now admitted having sexual contact with Epstein between 1996 and 2008, according to the six women in the new report.

As part of Epstein’s plea deal, prosecutors pledged to let him attend treatment for sex crimes, but he has not seen a therapist for more than a decade.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the report, but the report obtained by the BBC said prosecutors have now admitted that Epstein has not voluntarily undergone therapy for sex crimes.

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