Jeffrey Epstein charged with running sex trafficking ring, and it could be happening here

Rebecca Crockett
July 09, 2019 - 4:00 am

AP photo/Palm Beach Sheriffs office,file


NEW YORK (AP) - Some of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers say they're encouraged he's been charged with sex trafficking. The 66-year-old Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday in his first court appearance following his weekend arrest. He will remain in jail at least until his July 15 bail hearing. Epstein's lawyers contend the charges involve allegations that arose in a Florida case more than a decade ago. Epstein struck a secret deal to avoid significant punishment in that case.

Platte County Prosecuting attorney, Eric Zahnd, says it's happening every day, in every county in Missouri, Kansas, and across the country. 

"The reality of it is, this sort of thing happens under the cover of darkness all the time in the United States. Every prosecutor, every day is prosecuting cases just like this," says Zahnd.

And for the victims, Zahnd encourages everyone to say something, no matter how much time has gone by. He says there's no statute of limitations for many sexual assaults. The attorneys office brings cases years or even decades later, relatively routinely. 

There's bound to be someone who knows something. Only mandatory reporters, like teachers or doctors, are required to speak up, but what if you know it's going on and you say nothing?

"You can't be guilty of something just because you know that it's going on. Having said that," Zahnd warns, "if you participate in any way, or aid, or encourage another person to commit a crime, at that point, you become an accessory to the crime."

If you see something that just doesn't sit well, Zahnd says to call the police or a sex trafficking hotline. He says to keep an eye out for a young girl or boy who appears to be under the influence of someone who's dominating them. 


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