CHARLOTTE Amalie: Jeffrey Epstein’s Caribbean islands have long deterred boaters from the area, but curiosity has overcome concern since the financier apparently killed himself in jail as he awaited trial in New York on sex trafficking charges.
Tourists and locals alike are powering up boats to take a closer look at a place nicknamed “Pedophile Island” that lies just off the southeast coast of St. Thomas. Among the attractions are two huge white-and-yellow cockatiel statues that stand guard at the top of a set of stairs near the dock, as well as a life-size Holstein-Friesian cow statue.
“No one used to pay attention to it,” Jon Stewart, the owner of a charter boat company, said Wednesday. Now, “there’s a ton more tourists.”
Federal authorities consider Little St. James Island to have been Epstein’s primary residence in the United States, a place where at least one alleged victim said in a court affidavit that she participated in an orgy as well as had sex with Epstein and other people.
Curiosity in St. Thomas peaked this week as a group of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents descended on Little St. James Island and carried away what locals say were several large items from one of two islands that the 66-year-old Epstein owned.
“Now everyone is wondering what really happened to him and what’s going to happen to the island,” said Yvonne Light, a store manager who spied the federal agents while she watched a movie with her husband aboard their boat. “I was surprised to see them.”