An air traffic controller saw wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein getting off his private plane in the U.S. Virgin Islands with girls who appeared to be 11 to 12 years old in 2018, a year before Epstein was indicted on child sex trafficking charges, newly revealed government documents show.
Epstein, who is now dead, on other occasions was seen at the St. Thomas airport in the latter half of 2018 getting "off the plane with young girls," including at least one other time when the air traffic controller saw him with a girl who appeared to be between 16 and 18 years old, documents show.
The air traffic controller told U.S. Marshals Service investigators about Epstein traveling with underage girls on July 10, 2019, a week after Epstein was arrested at a New Jersey airport on child sex trafficking charges.
Those same government documents reveal that six months before Epstein was arrested, the Marshals Service began investigating whether the registered sex offender had violated federal law by failing to disclose all the countries he visited.
One document shows that Epstein not only failed to tell officials of two other countries he ended up visiting, but that he also notified them of his planned travel just four days before he planned to leave the United States — which was 17 days less than the minimum amount of notice he was required by law to give.
The documents released by the Justice Department and Marshals Service were disclosed by the website MuckRock, which specializes in making public document requests and detailing their results.
On Wednesday, French national police published an appeal on Twitter for victims of Epstein and witnesses to possible crimes by him, such as rape of minors, come forward to aid an investigation in that country. Three victims already have contacted French authorities, the Paris prosecutor's office said, according to the Associated Press.
Epstein, 66, died in August from what authorities have ruled a suicide by hanging in a federal jail in New York City. Epstein, a former friend of President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, was being held without bail as he awaited trial in his case. His death remains under investigation by multiple agencies.
One of the documents released through MuckRock indicates that Epstein had no mental health concerns or suicidal tendencies at the time of his arrest in July.
But the Marshals Service detention report detailing Epstein's 33 days in custody at the Manhattan Correctional Center says he had "mental concerns" and "suicidal tendencies" during his incarceration.
Epstein was found in late July on the floor of his cell with marks on his neck. He was placed on suicide watch for less than a week. Weeks later, he hanged himself, authorities have said.
An indictment issued in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York accused Epstein of sexually abusing dozens of minor girls from 2002 to 2005 at his massive townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side and at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein, who had pleaded not guilty in that case, had pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state charge of procuring a person under age 18 for prostitution. He served 13 months in custody for that earlier case and was required to register as a sex offender.
Epstein had a well-known penchant for young women and girls, and an obsession with receiving "massages" from them several times a day. Prosecutors say those massages sometimes, if not always, included sexual contact.
Prosecutors have said they are continuing to investigate the case, noting that Epstein was alleged to have been helped by conspirators who provided him with a stream of girls to satisfy his illicit cravings.
"Any co-conspirators should not rest easy," Attorney General William Barr said in late August.
"The victims deserve justice and they will get it."
According to a Marshals Service report on Jan. 8 this year, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York had contacted the Marshals about the possibility that Epstein — who was known to travel abroad frequently using private planes — "may not have reported all his International travel as required by International Megan's Law."
That federal law requires "all registered sex offenders to report international travel to their respective sex offender registry at least 21 days prior to departure from the United States."
Another Marshals report notes that on March 15, Epstein visited the Department of Justice's office on the island of St. Thomas, not far from his own private island, and spoke to a "Sex Offender Registry Coordinator."
"During this meeting Epstein signed the Notification of Duty to Report to travel," the report said.
That notification indicated that Epstein planned to travel to France from March 19 — just four days after the notification was signed — through March 29 with his private jet.
"No other countries were listed on the notification form," the report said.
However, "according to a public website that tracks flight activity, Epstein traveled on March 22, 2019, to Vienna, Austria, and on March 27, 2019, to Monaco," the report said.
"These countries are not listed on the notification form," the report said.
A report dated June 24, less than two weeks before Epstein was arrested, says that Marshals Service investigators met with an investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, whose series of stories about Epstein have been credited with sparking the interest of federal prosecutors in New York.
The reporter, whose name was redacted, told investigators that "she has an informant who worked at the airport and the informant stated that she has seen Epstein walking with girls under the age of 18 within the last seven months."
"Her informant has witnessed the girls board a helicopter at his island (Little St. James) and fly to the airport to board Epstein's private plane," the report said.
On July 10, a Marshals inspector contacted an air traffic controller at the St. Thomas airport whose number was provided by the Herald reporter, a document shows.
That controller told the inspector that between June 2018 and November "she has seen Epstein get off the plan with young girls," and recalled two specific times, "with the first being two girls who appeared to be eleven (11) to twelve (12) years old," the report says. "Another time a girl looked to be" 16 to 18 years old, the report said.
Another report said that a Marshals inspector in mid-July spoke to a federal prosecutor in the Virgin Islands about submitting a request for information about Epstein to authorities in "France, Austria and Morocco," and also spoke with the Customs and Border Protection agency about getting flight logs and records from Epstein's private plane.
On July 22, the inspector submitted an application for a search warrant to a prosecutor for Epstein's phone number that he listed for his international travel, with the hopes of getting "information that may provide insight to countries Epstein visited."
On Aug. 5, the inspector "received information from the [Federal Aviation Authority]," which "reveal numerous more Countries of international travel by Epstein's jet," a report noted.
"The investigation continues," the report concluded.
Five days later, Epstein died.
On Aug. 19, a report noted that the Marshals' inquiry into Epstein's travel was closed because of his death.