Transcripts Show Jeffrey Epstein Abuse Allegations Were Known to Prosecutors for Years Before Lenient Plea Deal

Two teenage victims of Jeffrey Epstein testified before a Florida grand jury in 2006

<p>AP/Shutterstock</p> Jeffrey Epstein


Jeffrey Epstein

Newly unsealed transcripts reveal that Florida prosecutors knew Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused teenage girls years before the disgraced financier and prosecutors agreed to a plea deal that was widely seen as too lax.

The transcripts, reviewed by PEOPLE, were released on Monday, July 1, following an order from a Florida judge. Featured are testimonies from detectives who investigated abuse claims against Epstein and two teenage victims who testified before a grand jury in 2006, two years before the plea deal.

Epstein, who lived in New York and Florida, served just over a year behind bars in Palm Beach County as a result of his 2008 guilty plea to soliciting a person under 18 for prostitution, though was allowed to go to his office nearly every day on work release, PEOPLE previously reported. Epstein, who had personal ties to Prince Andrew and former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, died by suicide in a New York City jail in 2019, according to authorities.

Related: What to Know About the Jeffrey Epstein Sex Abuse Case and Prince Andrew's Ties to Him

The release of the grand jury transcripts was made possible after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill in February allowing Circuit Judge Luis Delgado to make the witnesses' testimonies public.

“The Court finds that the request involves a matter of public interest,” Delgado wrote in his order. “The criminal prosecutions of the most infamous pedophile in American history began in Palm Beach County with much controversy. For almost 20 years, the story of how Jeffrey Epstein victimized some of Palm Beach County’s most vulnerable has been the subject of much anger and has at times diminished the public’s perception of the criminal justice system.”

Among the testimonies given to the grand jury was that of Palm Beach Police Detective Joseph Recarey, who said the investigation into Epstein began after the stepmother of a 14-year-old girl reported that her stepdaughter had received $300 from Epstein to give him a massage.

The girl, who was 16 at the time of the grand jury, then testified that she had first received $200 from Epstein to give him a massage at his Palm Beach mansion, and then received $100 more after he performed sexual acts on her.

After the girl described, in detail, her encounter with Epstein, the prosecutor asked her if she had ever shoplifted and questioned her about past drug use. The assistant state attorney also asked the victim if she knew she had committed a crime when she had taken money from Epstein.

“I didn't know it was a crime when I was doing it,” the girl said. “Now, I guess it's prostitution or something like that.”

Rick Friedman/Getty Images Jeffrey Epstein
Rick Friedman/Getty Images Jeffrey Epstein

Spencer Kuvin, an attorney who represented the girl, told ABC News that after reading the transcript, he believes prosecutors tried to undercut their own case.

"It just reaffirmed what we always knew was happening is that the state attorney was afraid to prosecute him, and that they tanked their own case by attacking their own witnesses during the grand jury proceeding," Kuvin told ABC.

The other teenage victim testified during the grand jury proceedings that she went to Epstein’s home several times, beginning when she was a junior in high school. The second teen told the grand jury that Epstein had originally paid her for massages and, after several meetings, raped her on the day before her 18th birthday.

The prosecutor also asked the second teen if she knew she was engaging in what the prosecutor said was prostitution.

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More than 150 pages of transcripts were released as part of Delgado’s order. The judge pointed out in his order that none of the information is new to investigators and prosecutors, who have been aware of the allegations since they were first reported.

“Tragically, the record reveals that Epstein used children to find more victims,” Delgado wrote. “The record also shows that some of the children knew the type of people they could be exposed to and the infamous nature of such 'notable' people.”

Related: Ghislaine Maxwell, Accomplice to Jeffrey Epstein, Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking

Before his death, Epstein, whose high-profile connections had been publicized, was arrested and accused of abusing dozens of underaged girls.

In June 2022, Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of helping Epstein recruit and groom sex trafficking victims and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to

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