Written July 24, 2023 by Prof. Marci Hamilton, Esq.

Prof. Marci Hamilton, Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, is a national expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations that make it difficult for victims to pursue justice.



Serial pedophiles need a community to achieve their ends. Catholic child-abusing priests needed the bishops to keep their behavior secret, to move them around to obtain access to a series of children, and to keep the authorities from finding out. It worked like a charm until the truth surfaced to the public. Jeffrey Epstein, who built an international child sex trafficking network, needed a constant supply of girls and young women, which was provided by his suppliers, including Ghislaine Maxwell, wealthy and powerful men to validate his public persona, and banks to launder his millions paid out through the sex network.

One of his institutional crutches, Deutsche Bank, folded relatively quickly after being sued by Epstein’s victims for providing direct banking support to the Epstein enterprise even though it was publicly known he was a serial pedophile. They agreed to pay $75 million to the victims. His major, front-facing banking supporter was JP Morgan Chase, which cultivated him for his connections to billionaires, even though it internal auditors repeatedly pointed out his criminal behavior and unfitness. They are paying $290 million. The victims are validated and cared for as they need to be for the rest of their lives due to the extreme trauma they experienced.

But that’s not the end of the line of justice in the wake of the Epstein tragic saga. USVI is taking that next step and sending a message that coddling sex traffickers, even wealthy ones, is not good for them and not good for business. To its great credit, USVI is now a global leader of the movement to root out sex trafficking enabled by banks.

USVI is alleging JP Morgan violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking, by requiring banks like JPM to report suspicious activity conducted by customers. Banks serve as the first line of defense to protect women and children from sex and labor trafficking because financial institutions’ analytics see when money moves in real-time and pick up trends in behavior—including criminal behavior. They have the technology to warn the authorities and the public about bad actors destroying our children, which means they can and should be part of the prevention of child sex abuse movement, not the ones hiding their heads in the sand hoping no one will notice they are profiting from the suffering of children.

As someone who has dedicated much of my career to protecting children and women from crimes as evil as the sexual abuse Jeffrey Epstein inflicted upon his victims, it is unfathomable to me why executives at JPMorgan Chase did not do their legal responsibility and did not alert the government about the information they had. The bank is yet another example of a famous institution or organization that turns a blind eye to children in need, joining the likes of USA Gymnastics, the Catholic Church, Penn State, and so many others. Child sex abuse is culturally systemic in its every iteration. We can and will solve it only if all players do their part.

In pursuing justice against JPM, the U.S. Virgin Islands is sending an important signal to institutions and organizations: willed ignorance of criminal wrongdoing will not be tolerated. And, by the way, don’t let our children be sexually abused.

USVI has put banks like JPM are on public notice: get with the program or take the earned punishment. The Virgin Islands are doing their part to protect future victims from sexual abuse and trafficking by holding JPM accountable for its role in the countless and heinous crimes that took place on the islands. It’s not easy to end child sex abuse, but USVI is doing precisely what every U.S. territory and state should be doing: standing up for the victims by holding responsible institutions accountable. Bravo!