Little Saint James, U.S. Virgin Islands
Little Saint James is a small private island in the United States Virgin Islands, located southeast of neighboring Great Saint James, both off the southern coast of the larger St. Thomas island, and belongs to the subdistrict East End, Saint Thomas. The 70–78 acres (28–32 ha) island was owned by American convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein from 1998 until his 2019 death. During Epstein's ownership, the island acquired local nicknames such as "Island of Sin" and "Pedophile Island," as it was alleged that sexual abuse of minors occurred there.
|Area covered||0.28–0.32 km2 (0.11–0.12 sq mi)|
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 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 discretion and confidentiality 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. 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, as it deviates in substantial ways from the plans for the music pavilion that had been submitted for approval in 2010 by Epstein's architects. The original building in the plans was of an octagonal footprint, rectangular in cross-section, and had two side-rooms extending from the outside walls - It was also much lower in perspective, and the dome extended from the octagon over onto the roofs of the side-buildings. The building that was eventually constructed was much taller, in the shape of a cube, and did not have any side-rooms. The dome was also well within the footprint of the cube, and the building did not have any of the proposed finishes applied to the walls, nor was it constructed out of materials in those plans, namely stone.
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. 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.
In March 2006, before Epstein was charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor, Stephen Hawking visited the island with 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 while working at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort 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. In July 2019, a Clinton spokesperson issued a statement saying Clinton never visited the island.
Reputation under Epstein's ownershipEdit
According to The Independent, "Epstein's island developed a reputation for depravity, and it is alleged that underage girls were made to take part in orgies on Little St. James." It has acquired such nicknames as "Island of Sin", "Pedophile Island", and "Orgy Island".
According to attorneys for Epstein's alleged victims, Little St. James is where many of the 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 several occasions, including 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. In August 2019, following Epstein's death, FBI agents searched his residence on Little St. James.
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