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STANLEY, N.M. — Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier, managed to evade federal prosecution a decade ago in a Florida sex case involving dozens of teenage girls, in part by agreeing to register as a sex offender. But for a man with many residences, and many high-powered lawyers, registering as a sex offender was not the blanket penalty it might seem.

He did register in Florida, where he pleaded guilty to two state felony charges. But in New York, where he owns one of Manhattan’s most expensive mansions, he managed to avoid check-ins with the authorities by changing his official residence to the Virgin Islands. And in New Mexico, where he owned a palatial residence south of Santa Fe, he was able to avoid inclusion in the state’s registry entirely.

The article goes on to state the following:

That state’s relatively cursory investigation took into account only a police report which indicated, the authorities said, that the underage victim in the case to which Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2010 was 17 — the age of consent in New Mexico — though the girl whose report launched the investigation against him was just 14.

The New York Times compares sex offender laws for different states, and notes that New Mexico’s laws are “more lenient, with no limits on where offenders can live or what jobs they can hold,” and some offenders can be removed from the registry in 10 years, based on the severity of their offenses. The article further states:

The degree to which Mr. Epstein had to report to the authorities in that state could be important, since it has emerged that his sprawling Zorro Ranch may have been the site of other crimes.

Earlier this year, Maria Farmer, another woman who has accused Mr. Epstein of sexual offenses, said in an affidavit that her sister, then 15 years old, was flown by Mr. Epstein to the ranch in New Mexico and was touched “inappropriately” on a massage table by him.

This week, the New Mexico attorney general’s office said it has begun its own inquiry into potential crimes in New Mexico.

A former detective with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office reportedly popped in unannounced to visit Epstein’s ranch in August 2010 and interviewed him regarding his sex offender status. The New York Times said the detective described the estate as “very large, very secluded and very high-security.”

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