Jeffrey Epstein registered as a sex offender in Santa Fe County after his 2010 guilty plea to a child prostitution case in Florida. Two days later, the sheriff's department got a letter from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety that said he didn't need to.
He hasn't appeared on the New Mexico sex offender registry since. He does appear on the sex offender registries in both Florida and New York.
Because he owned property in the state, authorities initially believed that he would be required to appear on the sex offender registry. Then they took it back.
The convicted pedophile, who was recently arrested on more allegations of sexually abusing and trafficking children, was at least until 2012 the owner of a property in Santa Fe County, a 7,000-plus acre ranch an hour or so south of Santa Fe on Highway 41. Epstein transferred the land to a holding company, Cypress, Inc. in 2013, based out of the US Virgin Islands, where he also owns property. Although it has been widely reported that Epstein still owns the ranch, SFR is unable to verify whether he is involved with Cypress, Inc.
But in 2010 there was little question.
"On August 17, 2010, [Epstein] registered as a sex offender in Santa Fe County based on the fact that he was told to register here," Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department spokesman Juan Rios tells SFR. "And on August 19, the Santa Fe County Sheriff received a letter from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety telling us that he was not required to register as a sex offender."
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety sent Epstein a letter in July of 2010 informing him that he must register in New Mexico. He appeared in person at the Santa Fe County Sheriff's office in August of 2010 and registered with Detective Deborah Anaya, according to Lovato.
A month later, however, the department's "translation analysis" of the case and the laws that govern Florida and New Mexico respectively indicated that he was not legally required to be on the list.
"While in New Mexico we expressly disapprove of such conduct as specific to this case, the determination made when someone must register in New Mexico is a fact-based inquiry," New Mexico Department of Public Safety spokesman HL Lovato tells SFR in an email. "The state conducted a 'translation' on August 11, 2010, regarding Mr. Epstein's 2008 conviction for procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution in the state of Florida, i.e., a comparison of the out-of-state elements of the Florida conviction were compared against New Mexico law."
Lovato says that the differences between New Mexico and Florida's laws led to the conclusion that Epstein did not have to appear on the registry because the victim was not under the age of 16.
Lovato adds that there may have been a delay in the sheriff's office acknowledging the DPS recommendation.
New Mexico Attorney General's office spokesman Matt Baca told SFR on Tuesday that the office has been in contact with survivors and plans to share "relevant information" with federal investigators, but has not responded to further questions about whether crimes are alleged to have happened at the property in Santa Fe County.
Rios says the county sheriff has no record of calls from or about the ranch.