PERVERSION of JUSTICE
A decade before #MeToo, a multimillionaire sex offender from Florida got the ultimate break.

He was over 50.

They were little girls.

Their stories were almost identical.

The evidence was substantial.

Jeffrey Epstein had a little black book filled with the names and personal phone numbers of some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, from Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to actors, actresses, scientists and business tycoons.

A money manager for the super-rich, Epstein had two private jets, the largest single residence in Manhattan, an island in the Caribbean, a ranch in New Mexico and a waterfront estate in Florida.

But Epstein also had an obsession.

For years, Epstein lured an endless stream of teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, offering to pay them for massages. Instead, police say, for years he coerced middle and high school girls into engaging in sex acts with him and others.

As evidence emerged that there were victims and witnesses outside of Palm Beach, the FBI began an investigation in 2006 into whether Epstein and others employed by him were involved in underage sex trafficking.

But in 2007, despite substantial evidence that corroborated the girls’ stories of abuse by Epstein, the U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, signed off on a secret deal for the multimillionaire, one that ensured he would never spend a day in prison.

Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, agreed to seal the agreement so that no one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes or who was involved.

This is the story of that deal — and how his victims, more than a decade later, are still fighting a criminal justice system that has stubbornly failed to hold wealthy, powerful men accountable for sexual abuse.

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How Miami Herald journalists investigated Jeffrey Epstein

The Team
Investigative Reporter: Julie K. Brown
Investigations Editor: Casey Frank
Visual Journalist: Emily Michot
Interaction Designer: Aaron Albright
Video production: Marta Oliver Craviotto, Emily Michot, Julie K. Brown
Copy Editor: Mary Behne
Social Media Editors: Adrian Ruhi, Noel Gonzalez
Drone Footage: Pedro Portal
Director of Design: Jessica Gilbert
Senior Manager of Design: Eddie Alvarez

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The Miami Herald obtained thousands of FBI and court records, lawsuits, and witness depositions, and went to federal court in New York to access sealed documents in the reporting of "Perversion of Justice." The Herald also tracked down more than 60 women who said they were victims, some of whom had never spoken of the abuse before.

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