Jeffrey Epstein was given a pass by NYPD even as they arrested 7,000 others for similar offenses under Sex Offender Registration Act
Epstein, after being labeled a Level 3 sex offender in 2011, was asked by a Manhattan judge to report in person to the authorities to verify his address every 90 days; but he reportedly missed the check-ins 34 times during the eight years before his arrest earlier this month
NEW YORK: The New York Police Department, which allowed multimillionaire financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to skip multiple court-mandated check-ins with law enforcement, reportedly made at least 7,061 arrests for similar violations of the state's sex offender registration law, data obtained by HuffPost states.
Epstein, after being labeled a Level 3 sex offender, the worst kind, in 2011, was asked by a Manhattan judge to report in person to the authorities to verify his address every 90 days. He reportedly missed the check-ins 34 times during the eight years before his arrest earlier this month, violating the requirements of New York's 1996 Sex Offender Registration Act.
Violation of this law is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison for a first offense and seven years for a repeated offense, however, the NYPD did not arrest Epstein.
The periodical check is required by a serious sex offender to verify their address and have their photo renewed for the online database of the department.
Epstein was arrested by federal agents July 6 in New Jersey after his return from a Paris trip and was charged with child sex-trafficking in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591. He is suspected of sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York. The new charges against the billionaire suggest the Department of Justice's attempt to redeem its 2008 decision where a top federal prosecutor cut a questionable plea deal — 13 months part-time custody — with the investor accused of engaging in sex with dozens of underage girls.
According to the data obtained by the outlet, the NYPD, during these eight years, arrested people who committed minor violations, like submitting paperwork days late, or people who struggled to keep up with reporting requirements because they were living in homeless shelters or on the street. The numbers and details of these arrests, when compared to Epstein's evasion of punishment, suggest a stark example of selective enforcement within the criminal justice system.
A public defender in Manhattan, Eliza Orlins, who has represented dozens of people accused of sex offender registration violations told the outlet: "Oftentimes, they are charged on the slightest breach of a technicality — they changed shelters, reported on the 91st day, or were experiencing homelessness."
The NYPD, however, has reportedly shirked responsibility for its negligence, stating Epstein was not required to check in with New York police because he claims his primary residence is a private island, Little St. James Island, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and that region is not within their jurisdiction.
The chief of detectives of the NYPD, Dermot Shea, while talking to Fox News, said: "Before his legally mandated first check-in, he [Epstein] changed his residence to the Virgin Islands, requiring monitoring to take place in that jurisdiction, not in New York."
However, state Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz, during her 2011 ruling, had considered the same argument from Epstein's lawyer and had rejected it. His lawyer, Sandra Musumeci, during the January 18, 2011, hearing insisted Epstein was not a "resident of New York" and his $77 million townhouse in the region was just a "vacation home" where he did not plan to stay "longer than a period of 10 days," according to the New York Post.
The judge, however, insisted Epstein would have to abide by the mandatory reporting requirements for Level 3 offenders, saying: "I am sorry he may have to come here every 90 days,” she said, according to an official transcript. “He can give up his New York home if he does not want to come every 90 days." Despite Pickholz's ruling, Epstein failed to attend even one of his periodic check-ins for years and no action was taken against him.
There were at least 921 arrests in New York last year associated with reporting requirements under the Sex Offender Registration Act, according to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services data.
According to the division, ever since Epstein registered as a sex offender in New York, there have been 7,061 arrests. These numbers do not include people arrested for a more serious crime like Epstein, so the actual number of arrests is possibly higher.