As a federal prosecutor in South Florida, Alex Acosta, now the Secretary of Labor, gave pedophile Jeffrey Epstein the “deal of a lifetime.” A federal investigation had revealed dozens of underage victims of Epstein. Yet, through a plea agreement with then-U.S. Attorney Acosta, Epstein managed to plead to only two state prostitution charges, and only one involving a minor.
Consequently, Epstein served just 13 months in state prison. He was housed in a private wing at the Palm Beach County jail and allowed work release privileges. Epstein’s year of “incarceration” reportedly included trips to New York and the Virgin Islands.
Under the circumstances, this amounts to a sweetheart deal.
But now we learn that the deal was even sweeter than we thought. The Washington Post reports that Epstein benefited from an arrangement whereby the only minor Epstein was convicted of soliciting was 16 years old when the offense began.
Yet, the minor who initially notified the police about Epstein’s crimes was 14 years old.
Why was this beneficial to Epstein? Because, as one attorney with expertise in this area of the law told the Post:
Society in general is much more punitive and harsh if the victim was 14 versus 17. The collateral consequences, including [sex offender] registration, are much more serious with a younger victim.
In Epstein’s case, the fact that he was not convicted for soliciting the 14 year-old who blew the whistle on him means that he need not register as a sex offender in New Mexico, where he owns a ranch. That state, like most others, doesn’t require registration unless the victim was under 16.
According to the Post, Epstein spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands. He need not register as a sex offender there because he is classified as a low-risk offender. I wonder whether the Virgin Islands would have classified him as such if he had been prosecuted for multiple instances of pedophilia, including with children under the age of 16.
In defending his plea deal with Epstein during his confirmation hearing, Acosta testified:
[An agreement] that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes is a good thing.
This was always nonsense. If the jail sentence is grossly disproportionate to the offense, the agreement is not a good one.
But now we know the Epstein-Acosta deal didn’t guarantee that Epstein register as a sex offender in two of the jurisdictions in which he sometimes lives. I assume that’s why Acosta slipped the weasel word “generally” into his testimony.
It didn’t guarantee this outcome because the current Secretary of Labor sold out the 14 year-old victim who had the courage to report Epstein’s criminality.