LONDON — British police say they will “review” allegations made in a recent Channel 4 News investigation that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his former partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, sexually abused, trafficked, and groomed multiple women and girls in Britain over a period of 10 years.
The claims, of which there are at least half a dozen but the broadcaster said could be “much higher,” aired on Tuesday, prompting fresh calls for the Metropolitan Police Service to fully investigate the Epstein scandal which has thrust Britain’s Prince Andrew, the second-eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, into the spotlight due to his ties to the disgraced US financier.
The broadcaster said that the allegations, including rape and serious sexual assault, came from evidence collected from “a combination of publicly available documentation (including court papers), witness accounts, and interviews.”
The allegations further implicate British socialite Maxwell who is currently in jail and awaiting trial in the United States on sex trafficking charges. She has denied enlisting underage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.
In its report, the broadcaster asked why Britain has been so slow to investigate the allegations when authorities around the world have moved to uncover the truth about the extent of Epstein’s crimes and connections.
“In this country there has been a deafening silence from the metropolitan police,” the investigation said, adding, “Scotland Yard has seemingly done very little. Tonight we ask, why?”
In 2019, Scotland Yard dropped the investigation into claims of sex trafficking by Epstein, saying that the case “would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK.” The force said it was not “the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries.”
Responding to the new report, the Metropolitan Police Service said, “We will always consider any new information and will review the information sent to us from Channel 4.”
The broadcaster also explored the widely speculated on issue that Andrew’s ties to the scandal may have influenced how the investigation was handled by British police.
In 2019, Andrew was forced to step back from public duties amid allegations that a teenager was trafficked to him by Epstein. He later attempted to defend his name during an interview with the BBC which was described as “nuclear explosion level bad” by many who watched in bewilderment.
In the sit down, Andrew said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting a woman named Virginia Roberts who has said she was groomed by Epstein to have sex with the prince. He also admitted to staying at Epstein’s New York residence in December 2010 for a total of four days — but said he had flown there to end their friendship.
Epstein was found dead in a jail cell in August 2019. At the time of his death he was being held on sex trafficking charges. An autopsy determined his death was a result of suicide by hanging, although his lawyers said they were dissatisfied with the conclusion.
According to Channel 4′s investigation, several women have come forward during the past decade to document “horrific abuse” at the hands of Epstein, which the young women Channel 4 spoke to said was propelled by Maxwell who worked alongside him to recruit women for him to exploit.
It is alleged that Maxwell lured vulnerable victims into the couple’s network with promises of trips to the Caribbean, financial support, and free flights to luxurious destinations.
Maxwell’s trial is set to be held later this year.