The prosecutor who helped a rich serial child rapist escape justice is now a Trump Cabinet member

In 2007, Florida multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to two felony prostitution counts in a sweetheart deal that sent him to a private wing of a minimum security prison, with a work-release program that let him go to an off-site office for 12 hours a day, six days a week, for just over a year. Prosecutors knew of at least 36 underage survivors of sex crimes committed by Epstein, but none of them were notified of the deal (this silence is a breach of federal law), and they were subsequently smeared by Epstein's lawyers who accused them of being "gold diggers."

The Miami Herald has tracked down more than 80 of Epstein's victims, who were young teens when he convinced them to come to his house and committed nonconsensual and illegal sex acts with them. They were largely poor and desperate for the money that Epstein paid them, and they say he provided cash bonuses to girls who brought in more girls for him to have sex with. They also say he rejected girls who looked post-pubescent, preferring only the youngest-looking of the girls.

The prosecutor who set up Epstein's plea bargain, and who — according to emails reviewed by the Herald — conspired to keep the deal out of the press, is named Alexander Acosta.

Alexander Acosta is now Donald J Trump's Secretary of Labor.

The women who were raped and molested by Epstein have had a hard time since Acosta allowed their assaulter to walk away from his crimes. Some have died of overdoses. Others have ended up in prison. Many struggle with lasting mental health problems as a result of their protracted sexual victimization by Epstein (Epstein has since managed to have his sex offender status downgraded in New York so that he can visit his house there without going through the hassle of re-registering as an offender every 90 days).

Remember Pizzagate? When Trump followers were so convinced that a building that didn't have a basement had a basement where rich people were molesting them, and their powerful friends in the US government were covering it up?

Pizzagate isn't real. Epstein's longrunning child-rape was real. The victims are still alive, and hurting, badly. Epstein's crimes were covered up by powerful government figures. Those powerful government figures are in Donald J Trump's cabinet.

More evidence that there is no child so imaginary or unborn that the right won't murder someone to save them — and that actual, living children get no compassion from Trump and his followers.

Most of the girls came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care. Some had experienced troubles that belied their ages: They had parents and friends who committed suicide; mothers abused by husbands and boyfriends; fathers who molested and beat them. One girl had watched her stepfather strangle her 8-year-old stepbrother, according to court records obtained by the Herald.

Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness.

"We were stupid, poor children,'' said one woman, who did not want to be named because she never told anyone about Epstein. At the time, she recalled that she was 14 and a high school freshman.

"We just wanted money for school clothes, for shoes. I remember wearing shoes too tight for three years in a row. We had no family and no guidance, and we were told that we were going to just have to sit in a room topless and he was going to just look at us. It sounded so simple, and was going to be easy money for just sitting there."

The woman, who went to Epstein's home multiple times, said Epstein didn't like her because her breasts were too big. The last time she went, she said, one girl came out crying and they were instructed to leave the house and had to pay for their own cab home.

Some girls told police they were coached by their peer recruiters to lie to Epstein about their ages and say they were 18. Epstein's legal team would later claim that even if the girls were under 18, there was no way he could have known. However, under Florida law, ignorance of a sex partner's age is not a defense for having sex with a minor.

Wild, who worked for Epstein until she was 21, said he was well aware of their tender ages — because he demanded they be young.

How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime [Julie K. Brown/Miami Herald]