From the harbor on St. Thomas, the boat skims eastward across the crystalline Caribbean, takes a turn and there it is: the palm-fringed paradise that was the private redoubt of Jeffrey Epstein.
An American flag on a towering pole flutters in the breeze. A blue-and-white building that resembles a temple sits atop one of the hills. The pool and cabanas are visible in the distance. There’s no traffic on the winding dirt roads, no people on the dock or the beach.
It’s quiet now on the island of Little St. James. Epstein dubbed it Little St. Jeff’s. Locals have other names for it: Pedophile Island and Orgy Island.
This is where Epstein – convicted of sex crimes a decade ago in Florida and now charged in New York with trafficking girls as young as 14 – repaired, his escape from the toil of cultivating the rich and powerful.
Over the years, the 66-year-old crossed paths with former and future presidents, as well as a Who’s Who of wealthy business figures and celebrities. On St. Thomas, he has been a subject of lurid speculation for as long as anyone can remember. Tourists still take boats out to get a glimpse of the island, where, according to a former employee, Epstein hosted young women who flew into St. Thomas with him and were ferried over in groups aboard a 38-foot vessel called the “Lady Ghislaine,” apparently named for his friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
“It’s part of the tour and has been forever,” said Kristi Query, owner of Virgin Islands Yacht Charters in Compass Point Marina on St. Thomas, the gateway isle of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Few here doubt that Epstein is wealthy. He routinely touched down on St. Thomas aboard his private jet before being whisked by helicopter to his 72-acre retreat. He spent many millions after buying it for $7.95 million in 1998, carving roads, planting scores of 40-foot palms, building…