Updated: Feb 1
Having been a child abused by the Christian Brothers in the 1950’s and 60’s (see https://www.francescorizzuto.com/blog/what-s-wrong-with-pedophile-priests) I’m surely the last person you’d expect to defend the Epstein/Trump tag team over allegations of raping underage girls; or raping anyone for that matter, even mature women in Bergdorf dressing rooms (https://www.francescorizzuto.com/post/she-s-giving-dirty-old-men-a-bad-name).
But I’m going to play the devil’s advocate.
An adult man or woman having sexual relations with a minor may not be guilty of rape per se; nonetheless, he/she may still be guilty of having engaged in sex acts with an underage person where prohibited in a particular jurisdiction. How ‘underage’ is defined varies from state to state and country to country. The two so-called crimes, rape and sex with a minor, are not the same, although rape can involve both definitions. The underage party may have consented to the sex acts, while rape always implies a lack of consent on the part of at least one party.
In today’s confused world, the only sure way to avoid the slammer and being forced to register as a sex offender and life-long pariah is to ensure that 1) both parties are overage, and 2) each party signs a mutual consent agreement outlining exactly what is to be enacted and how/by whom, including a specific time limit on the action, or at least a ‘planned start’ and ‘planned finish.’ To be absolutely bulletproof, this written agreement should be confirmed by the signatures of three witnesses and sealed by a notary public. Sound kinky? Well, it’s perfectly legal and advisable. After all, you wouldn’t think about having unprotected sex, would you?
The recommendation comes from personal experience.
In my youth, I had a BFF (Best-Friend-Forever) called Lorena (not her real name). Lorena was a municipal social worker and single mother, slugging it out among the prostitutes and drug addicts of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the notorious DTES. She was a person of great compassion who wanted more than anything to be loved with the same intensity and dedication to purpose that she brought to her day job. I’m certain that if one could contact her old clients, many would attest to Lorena’s influence and personal sacrifice having turned their lives around. If you were ever in a jam, Lorena was the one to stand behind you. Like I said: BFF.
Lorena often commented that her clients were not bad people, but that they just made bad decisions, over and over again. Many were underage girls from native reserves as well as middle- and upper-class homes in upscale districts. They came in all colours.
But Lorena always seemed to get short-changed in the love department. Her own parents were estranged. She and her husband were estranged. She had issues with her father, a philandering alcoholic with too much money. She’d been a teenage runaway herself. In short, her own story wasn’t very different from those of her clients or the sagas recounted in the mass media by Jeffrey Epstein’s and Donald Trump’s accusers.
Lorena and I were friends for over 50 years until her death of natural causes in 2017. But there’s one incident that’s pertinent to this post, if only to throw light on the plight of young, underage girls and the choices they make. And not just underage girls.
One Saturday morning over coffee – since we were both friends and neighbours, it was our habit to visit each other for coffee – Lorena recounted the details of her date of the previous evening. I practically choked on my Java when she complained that she couldn’t decide if she’d been raped or not. Did she report the incident to the police? No. Did she want me to go over and kick the livin' shit out of that arsehole? No.
Now, if a mature woman can’t decide if she’d been raped or not, then how is a court of law supposed to do it? Here we are at the thin edge of a very ugly wedge dividing men and women into opposing camps. Men quite naturally tend to side with the male version of the story, women with the female version. But these stories usually have more than a few elements in common.
First, there is usually money and/or alcohol/drugs in the picture. There are longer-term (female) versus shorter term (male) goals and expectations. And there is that inexplicably complicated and mist-enshrouded human drive to reproduce, a force that compels people to take unmitigated risks to achieve what are usually rather short-term satisfactions.
This was exactly Lorena’s dilemma on the morning after. She couldn’t decide if her personal needs and objectives had been addressed or, if not, whether she’d been raped. It wasn’t as simple as going into a Bergdorf’s women’s change room with Donald Trump. No, it was infinitely more complicated and primal than that.
So, let’s cut to the chase and put Epstein and Trump under the lens.
There’s nothing more despicable and degrading to the participants that trying and condemning a person in the social media, and it gets especially vicious among the mob of righteous Twitterites hiding behind their social media handles. Like @realDonaldTrump, who stirs up the idiot fringe shouting “Lock her up,” and “Send her back,” and publicly accuses a woman of colour and elected member of Congress of having married her own brother, Twitterites level charges of rape as casually as if they were tossing away peanut shells at a ballgame. Witness how the #MeToo witch hunt has destroyed Senator Al Franken. And there will be other innocent victims to come. These hooded avengers refuse to reveal their real names, a lynch mob fuelled by hatred for anyone of a different colour, religion or gender, the new face of an old and deadly institution: The Holy Inquisition.
Nonetheless, and despite the anonymity and questionable validity of social media in general, these are serious accusations. Whether or not the charges are based in fact, the mere act of spreading unfounded propaganda, lies, and innuendo, is demeaning and unworthy of people who purport to live in a free and just society. Freedom of speech doesn’t necessarily include the right to engage in hate speech or character assassination, despite POTUS45’s rather poor example. While it may look like a duck, walk like a duck, and quack like a duck, we’d better have DNA before inciting the mindless to riot.
Whether or not an underage girl (or boy) is incapable of consent under any and all circumstances and therefore free of all culpability in their own supposed rape is a very serious question. Like my friend Lorena, none of these girls considered the implications or repercussions of what they were doing before willingly and, in some cases, enthusiastically, providing blow jobs and full-menu intercourse to the wealthy individuals now in the dock or being fingered in the media (not a pun). This is not to imply that the accused are not sleaze balls. But even the sleaziest of balls have certain rights which include the right to sue their accusers for defamation in the civil courts. It’s a much more complicated game than simply hunting down bad guys and hanging them from the nearest Twitter branch.
Epstein’s ‘victims’ are defined as having been under the legal age of consent with respect to sex acts, a definition that may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. What they all have in common is having nonetheless consented to attending sex parties and accepting money to perform sex acts or having engaged in questionable activities that led to them performing these sex acts on adults. And given the extreme wealth and power of these men, what woman with a conflicted past would not be tempted to seize such an opportunity for personal gain? After all, that’s how they got involved with Epstein in the first place.
Epstein and Trump should go down. They need to go down because they have broken the law, that is, if a court of law determines this beyond a reasonable doubt. The charges involve sex with underage girls and/or having trafficked in women for the purpose of prostitution. How they got their wealth and how they currently use it may involve other crimes. And those around them may need to go down for aiding and abetting. But before they do, let’s all open our minds and look at some serious peripheral issues.
The most serious issue of all is the responsibility and role of the accusers’ parents. What was the underage girls’ parents’ involvement? Where were they while their daughters were selling their bodies for money or promises of a career in ‘modelling’ and basking in a jet-set lifestyle? In America, where everyone considers himself/herself a victim of something (rape, cancer, the IRS), nobody has even mentioned parental culpability for the bad decisions taken by their underage daughters. Some believe that parents should be held responsible and punished for unlawful acts committed by their children. Yet in the case of Jeffrey Epstein, they remain profoundly silent.
If a minor can be tried for certain crimes and sentenced in adult court, how then can underage girls not be cited for prostitution which, in many jurisdictions, is still a serious crime? And why is nobody suggesting that they should not be tried and punished after having publicly attested to these crimes? Is it the statute of limitations that gets in the way? According to their testimonies, there was indeed pressure on the girls to perform; yet the ultimate decisions were theirs. They followed the money. And when it comes to selling sex, that's against the law.
Where were the physical restraints (handcuffs, locked rooms, etc.) that kept the underage girls in captivity? So far, nobody has been able to point out any physical restraints whatsoever. They participated in Epstein’s schemes of their own free wills and remained free to go; yet many, if not all, came back for more, time after time. In my own era, the age of reason was seven (7). Child prostitutes were not set on pedestals and worshipped as victims. They were sent to reform school instead. I’m not advocating a return to the past; but I am suggesting that there is no absolute age before which one is incapable of committing crimes, including the selling of one’s own body. Laws by their nature must make definitions and set limits but real life is not like that.
A broader but equally important issue is the source of Jeffrey Epstein’s enormous wealth. As a person coming from a humble family and economically-challenged background who failed to finish college, his skills as a so-called financial wizard and consultant to the rich really don’t pass muster. What was Epstein’s actual role, along with that of equally wealthy socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, in safeguarding the ethos of the American one-percent, the movers and shakers, some of whom have been implicated in the current scandal? Who was Epstein really working for? What was his role in ‘Intelligence’ and, like Lee Harvey Oswald (whose tax returns have remained sealed tighter than fish pussy and that’s waterproof), when will the public demand real answers? You can be sure that the issue of sex trafficking and raping underage girls is merely a smokescreen for bigger things. Much bigger. In a society predicated on racism, greed, and never-ending warmongering, a good sex scandal is the perfect diversion and panacea. Those sitting on the power bases know what the emperor Nero pointed out almost two millennia ago, that the masses understand only bread and circuses.
Finally, the girls themselves have only come out against Epstein (and Trump by extension) after they’d made other life choices, that is, having become parents themselves or at least engaging in more or less mainstream, adult relationships. There’s the undeniably sweet smell of notoriety and possible financial gain that accrues from the never-ending soap opera revolving around POTUS45 and FLOTUS45 (see www.francescorizzuto.com/blog/first-lady-of-porn).
When it comes to trafficking in women for the purpose of sex, there are rules for some and other rules for others. The current focus on Jeffrey Epstein makes the perfect red herring and a convenient diversion from much more serious ethical and moral issues plaguing the Trump Presidency.
The Trump Organization has proudly announced the recent approval by the Chinese government of its bid to operate escort services in that country. Although its website was taken down as Donald Trump announced his bid for high office, an agency called 'Trump International' https://web.archive.org/web/*/Trump%20International%20Escorts (active 2013-15) offered an 'elite courtesan introduction' at anywhere from $800/hour for a Three-Star experience to $3000/hour for a Six-Star encounter. What's the equivalent in Chinese Renminbi?
According to the Washington Post, Trump International Escorts, which has since changed its name to 'Mystique Companions' after a cease and desist order was received from the real Trump Organization, had nothing whatever to do with Donald Trump.
The actual stakeholders in the various Trump enterprises are often shrouded in mystery and make easy targets for "Fake News." Nonetheless, the President's involvement with the late Jeffery Epstein is quite clear, despite having now conveniently distanced himself from his one-time friend.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Mr. Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Like almost everything in America these days, this tale smells worse and worse the more it unwinds. On the morning of August 10, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in a cell of New York's Metropolitan Detention Center, a supposed suicide. According to various media accounts, the guards assigned to monitor him were asleep. One guard was not a real guard, while screams were reportedly heard coming from his cell around the time of death. Quite suddently, and perhaps conveniently for many involved with Epstein in life, the State of New York was left without a defendant, although the prosecuting judge later vowed that Epstein's so-called victims will nonetheless have their day. That is to say, they will enjoy the media exposure they crave and may even benefit financially from the breakup of Epstein's considerable estate. So, selling your body for money - at whatever age - can really pay off in the end.
Now go on, MAGAts and Twitter trolls. Unleash your shit-storm of abuse on me. But it won’t change the fact that Americans are fundamentally uninterested in truth, justice, and a better society, while focusing instead on the lurid sex lives of the very people who are dismantling their democracy, disposing of a cherished value system, and poisoning the well.
Here's the point. In a society predicated on racism, bigotry and greed, the accusers in the Epstein saga are just as guilty and despicable as the accused.
Some think that we could do better. I wonder...
Readers' comments and criticisms are welcome. Please visit my website at www.francescorizzuto.com to download sample chapters from my novels and short story collections.