Miami Herald editor on USVI suit against Epstein estate: 'He was still treated as royalty in the Virgin Islands'

Miami Herald senior editor of investigations Casey Frank responded Thursday to a shocking new lawsuit filed against Jeffrey Epstein's estate alleging that the disgraced financier raped and abused girls as young as 11 and 12 years old at his private island in the Caribbean.

The lawsuit, filed by the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, suggest Epstein trafficked and abused young girls as recently as 2018.

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"This is really the first, solid allegation that Mr. Epstein was still engaging in these activities after he got out of jail in Palm Beach [in 2009]," Frank said Thursday on "The Story."

Frank oversaw his outlet's coverage of Epstein's case following his guilty plea in 2008 on state charges of procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and solicitation of prostitution. He said that although the new lawsuit does possess some "new tidbits," he questioned the Virgin Islands officials for only taking action now.

"Mr. Epstein was doing this for a long time and yet he was still treated as royalty in the Virgin Islands," Frank said.

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Frank added that the latest lawsuit "may be partially based on a revelation a few months ago that air traffic controllers in the Virgin Islands were seeing very young girls disembark from Mr. Epstein's plane in recent months. "

"However, again," Frank continued, "that sort of activity has been going on for years and years. Mr. Epstein was nothing, if not brazen, and the suggestion that this sort of thing is brand-new, and they just discovered it, and they are outraged is a little bit hard to stomach, actually."

The newest lawsuit against Epstein, who was found dead on Aug. 10 in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, claims that he kept a computerized database to track the availability and movements of the girls.

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The lawsuit is the first filed against Epstein's estate by a government and could be seen as a bid to change the region's reputation as an adult playground with no consequences for the rich and powerful.

Fox News' Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.