Lawsuit: Epstein trafficked girls in Caribbean until 2018

New evidence shows Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused and trafficked hundreds of young women and girls on his private Caribbean island as recently as 2018, significantly expanding the scope of his alleged conduct, a top law enforcement official said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Epstein, a wealthy financier who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail in August, was bringing girls as young as 11 and 12 to his secluded estate in the Virgin Islands and kept a computerized database to track the availability and movements of women and girls, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit filed by Denise N. George, attorney general of the Virgin Islands, has broadened the dimensions of the wrongdoing in which Epstein was said to have engaged. He had been charged by Manhattan prosecutors in July with sexually exploiting dozens of women and girls in New York and Florida, but they did not point to any actions beyond 2005.

The lawsuit alleges that even after Epstein’s suicide, his associates have “continued to conspire to prevent detection of the Epstein Enterprise’s criminal wrongdoing and to prevent accountability.”

Lawmakers in Venezuela blocked, meet outside capital

CARACAS, Venezuela — Government security forces and armed motorcycle groups loyal to Venezuela’s president forcefully blocked opposition lawmakers from entering the National Assembly building Wednesday, prompting them to hold their session on the outskirts of the crisis-torn nation’s capital.

It’s the second time this month lawmakers have been barred from the building that houses the only branch of government that remains out of control of President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government.

Attempting to reach the legislative chamber, the caravan of cars carrying the deputies dodged through downtown streets, but ultimately failed. Gunshots could be heard near the cars, but no injuries were reported. Two SUV’s carrying lawmakers came under attack by people on the street dressed in civilian clothes.

Police say Mafia ripped off EU for millions in farm aid

ROME — Crime clans of the Sicilian Mafia working in cahoots with public officials defrauded the European Union of more than $11 million in agricultural aid, Italian authorities said Wednesday.

Officers from Italy’s paramilitary Carabinieri and financial police fanned out across Sicily at dawn as part of the case, a crackdown that yielded 94 arrests.

National anti-Mafia Prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho said the alleged fraud involved thousands of acres of farmland in eastern Sicily that fraudulently qualified for subsidies starting in 2013.

Sudan reopens airspace after end of armed mutiny

CAIRO — Sudan said it reopened its airspace Wednesday after an armed revolt from within its security forces shut down the capital’s airport for hours and left at least two people dead.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the country’s ruling transitional council, announced that “life has returned to normal,” following a tense stand-off between the armed forces and rogue intelligence officers. The officers had fired shots in the air to demand better severance benefits.

Sudan’s petroleum minister declared the resumption of oil production at two fields that had been seized by rebellious officers.

Indiana’s oldest state employee retiring at 102

INDIANAPOLIS — A 102-year-old man who is Indiana’s oldest state employee is retiring after nearly six decades on the job, saying that “your body tells you when it’s time to go.”

Bob Vollmer plans to report to work for the last time Feb. 6 as a surveyor for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The World War II veteran, whose mother lived to be 108, joined the state agency in 1962. He still travels Indiana collecting field data and confirming boundary lines for DNR-managed properties.

Vollmer said he plans to spend his retirement devoting himself to reading and farming. He also plans to visit some of the South Pacific islands he was on during his service with the U.S. Navy.

— From wire reports

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