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Sex trafficking allegations cross international borders

We often discuss the far-reaching impact that a sex crime conviction can have on a person's life. Even after someone has served a sentence for a sex crime, he or she can continue to face legal, social and financial challenges. Of course there is often a requirement to register as a sex offender, but there can also be legal battles and criminal accusations that arise long after a person has served his or her time.

This appears to be the case for convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. The wealthy financier's case made headlines years ago when he pleaded guilty to a charge stemming from allegations that he sexually abused underage girls in Florida and elsewhere and sent them all around the world to engage in sexual encounters with his high-profile friends. Although the criminal case was resolved in 2008, lawsuits and allegations have kept this case in the courts.

Since an initial plea agreement was reached in 2008, alleged victims of Epstein's have been filing civil cases against him, to which Epstein has been ordered to contribute financially as part of his original plea.

However, those civil suits were only the beginning. One of the women involved in the trafficking case has named some very high-profile, powerful men as some of those to whom she was trafficked for sex. Among these men are Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; politicians; and even Epstein's attorney. She claims there are others, but declined to name them unless required to by a judge. The men she has named, however, have emphatically denied her allegations.

Several legal actions have been taken in relation to the original case, from defamation lawsuits to federal appeals court rulings about a victim's rights to claims that Epstein received an unfairly lenient sentence thanks to his influential friends.

This case is particularly sensational and complicated due to the international reach of the claims and the high-profile status of the people allegedly involved, and it is unlikely that it will be resolved in the immediate future.

However, what this case can teach us is that legal issues do not simply go away because a sentence has been served or a plea agreement has been reached. They can continue to drastically affect a person's life years later through civil lawsuits, appeals and new allegations. 

Source: TIME, "U.S. Lawyers Seek to Interview Prince Andrea About Sex-Crime Claims," Maya Rhodan, Jan. 21, 2015

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