2018 NYT Interview: Epstein Thought People Would Get Over Pedophilia Like They Got Over Homosexuality

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Handout/File Photo/REUTERS

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein reportedly told a New York Times columnist in 2018 that criminalizing sex with underage girls was a cultural aberration and compared it to laws banning homosexuality.

Epstein allegedly described on background his views on criminalizing sex with teenage girls in an interview with NYT columnist James B. Stewart.

“He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable,” Stewart wrote Monday. “He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world.”

The condition of speaking on background “lapsed with his [Epstein’s] death,” Stewart wrote.

Authorities arrested Epstein in July for allegedly sex trafficking children and he died of an apparent suicide Saturday morning while in a New York jail. (RELATED: FBI agents Raid Epstein’s ‘Pedophile Island’)

Jeffrey Epstein's residence at 9 East 71st Street in the Manhattan borough of New York on July 18, 2019 in New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Jeffrey Epstein’s residence at 9 East 71st Street in the Manhattan borough of New York on July 18, 2019 in New York City. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Stewart met with Epstein at his Manhattan home in 2018 to discuss Epstein’s alleged ties to Tesla founder Elon Musk. Epstein was reluctant to discuss matters of Tesla but “was more at ease discussing his interest in young women,” according to Stewart.

Epstein’s home included photos of himself with prominent individuals such as film director Woody Allen and former President Bill Clinton, according to Stewart.

“Displaying photos of celebrities who had been caught up in sex scandals of their own also struck me as odd,” Stewart wrote.

Stewart also mentioned he was met by a “young woman” whom he guessed “would be late teens or perhaps 20.” The meeting took place years after authorities arrested Epstein in 2008 and he pleaded guilty to procuring a minor for prostitution. He was a registered sex offender in Florida.

“Given Mr. Epstein’s past, this struck me as far too close to the line,” Stewart wrote. “Why would Mr. Epstein want a reporter’s first impression to be that of a young woman opening his door?”

Epstein’s death is under investigation. Attorney General Bill Barr said in a press conference Monday that his death does not signal the end of investigations into co-conspirators or enablers.

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