Tourists have been flocking to Jeffrey Epstein’s so-called “Pedophile Island” in the Caribbean — in the wake of the wealthy financier’s apparent suicide behind bars.
Little St. James Island, regarded by the feds as Epstein’s primary residence in the United States, lies just off the southeast coast of St. Thomas. At least one alleged victim said in a court affidavit that she participated in an orgy there and had sex with Epstein and others.
Attractions at the island include two white-and-yellow cockatiel statues, 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, told the Associated Press Wednesday.
Now, he added, “there’s a ton more tourists.”
Curiosity came to a head this week when a group of FBI agents descended on the island and carried away what appeared to be several large items from the island, one of two that 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 looked over at the agents as she watched a movie with her husband on their boat. “I was surprised to see them.”
An FBI spokesman declined to issue any statements, but confirmed that agents were conducting a “court-authorized law enforcement activity.”
Dean Bofenkamp, who was visiting from Youngstown, Ohio, to attend his son’s basketball game, said he was craning his neck to catch a glimpse while on the plane to St. Thomas.
“I was just curious where it was,” he said.
It takes about 15 minutes to get from St. Thomas to Little St. James Island by boat — and many visitors to the former have wondered about it.
Epstein bought the island more than two decades ago and built a stone mansion, as well as several other structures there. He also bought the neighboring Great St. James Island in recent years did not build anything there.
It’s unclear what will be done with the islands following the financier’s death — but some locals say the buildings should be turned into a school.
Trevor Downes, a retiree from Oregon, said “a hotel would be a nice thing.”
“It would help the economy,” he said. “They need work here.”
But taxi driver John Richards said there’s an obvious solution.
“I believe the victims should get part of the island,” he said.
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