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A temple and a secret underground bunker: Inside Jeffrey Epstein's private 'Paedophile Island', & more in News in 5.

With AAP.

1. A temple and a secret underground bunker: Inside Jeffrey Epstein’s private ‘Paedophile Island’.

Jeffrey Epstein’s private Caribbean island, known by locals as “Paedophile Island”, is the centre of a sex trafficking investigation against the US multimillionaire, with claims underage girls were used as sex slaves and repeatedly abused.

Epstein purchased Little Saint James in the US Virgin Islands in 1998, making it one of his main residences.

Neighbouring islander Kevin Goodrich, who operates boat charters from nearby St Thomas, told The Sun: “Everybody called it ‘Paedophile Island’ … It’s our dark corner”.

On the southwest edge of the island, Epstein built a square blue and white building with a gold dome, resembling a religious temple sometime after 2009. This building which is secluded, nestled away from the other structures on the island, was known to workers on the island as a music room but it is speculated this is where much of the alleged abuse took place.

Chicago-based contractor and engineer James Both told Business Insider the wooden door on the building raised some questions.

“It’s styled like what you might see on a castle, with what appears to be a reinforcing lock bar across the face,” he said. “What makes it peculiar is that if you wanted to keep people out, the bar would be placed inside the building, [but the] locking bar appears to be placed on the outside… as if it were intended to lock people in.”

The ‘temple’ is surrounded with palm trees and a labyrinth terrace. Downhill is a smaller structure, which has led many to believe it is another entrance or exit, suggesting there could also be a hidden underground structure.

“It is absolutely possible to install a dwelling and elevator underneath the structure,” Both suggested. But privacy means it was more likely stairs: “If an elevator was built there, [there] would most likely be a record with the vendor who installed the elevator, as they typically require yearly maintenance and inspection… a simple stairwell would be a better option if someone wanted to conceal their activities at the location.”

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Built sometime between 2009 and 2013, the ‘temple’ was erected after Epstein’s guilty plea and 13-month jail stint for soliciting and procuring a minor of prostitution.

jeffrey epstein island
The temple, as seen via Google Maps.

At least one alleged victim has spoken about what she said happened on the island.

Virginia Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, worked at now-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club as a 16-year-old when she was allegedly introduced to, and began to be sexually abused by, Epstein. She described being groomed as a "sex slave".

Giuffre alleged in court documents Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew in a number of places including New York, London and on a private island. Public records and flight logs obtained by The Sunday Times suggest the prince was in the same place as Giuffre on the three occasions she claims they had sex.

Earlier this month, Epstein was arrested and charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty.

An indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan accuses the 66-year-old of arranging for girls as young as 14 to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts, and paying some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005.

According to investigators he sexually abused nearly three dozen girls, mostly 13-16 years old, at his Palm Beach mansion from 1999 to 2006.

2. Inquest hears teen took up to nine capsules before dying at Sydney music festival.

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A young man who took up to nine MDMA capsules at a Sydney music festival told his friend "he was just going to keep a strong mind and push through it" before he collapsed and died, an inquest has heard.

Passionate musician and AFL player Callum Brosnan, 19, became unresponsive at Olympic Park train station after attending the Knockout Games of Destiny electronic dance music event in December 2018.

He died in hospital within hours as a result of MDMA and cocaine toxicity.

Mr Brosnan took between six-and-a-half and nine capsules at the event, Detective Inspector Karl Reis told the inquest on Tuesday.

The police officer said one capsule later found in the teenager's bum bag was tested and contained MDMA at a high purity of 77 per cent.

One of his friends, who can't be identified for legal reasons, gave evidence that they bumped into each other about 5pm and stayed together for most of the festival.

He understood Mr Brosnan to previously ingest MDMA once or twice a month, adding that on "most occasions" those in their peer group took multiple capsules.

He said by 9pm Mr Brosnan had told one of their friends he'd had seven MDMA capsules.

Mr Brosnan seemed fine and dancing, singing and performing shows for other patrons with his light-up gloves, the friend told the NSW Coroners Court.

"We believe he could've got more pills for doing these shows for people but that's not something we can confirm."

He said usually people would offer something as a reward for the displays.

But by about 11.30pm Mr Brosnan was "standing there, staring at the stage, looking blank", he said.

"I asked if he needed a break or some water and he said 'no'."

He said Mr Brosnan's comment about pushing through made him think "he'd be alright" but he stumbled on the way to the station after the event and was found talking to "some random people" who couldn't understand him.

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Paramedic Brae Pettiford said Mr Brosnan was fitting when they arrived and never regained consciousness.

He went into cardiac arrest on the way to Concord Hospital.

The friend told the coroner if he could speak to his younger self he would have made Mr Brosnan get medical help, fresh air or some rest - "whatever could have helped".

Cornelius Brosnan previously told the inquest his "forever loyal son" always put his friends' needs before his own.

"He was a remarkable young man and through his courage and buoyant personality ... taught us many things about life that without him we would be none the wiser," he said.

Mr Brosnan was caring for young people with autism at a house in Oatlands in the year before he died.

The coroner told his family: "I think everyone is feeling and acknowledges that terrible pain".

The 19-year-old's drug-related death is one of six at NSW music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019 being examined by Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame.

Nathan Tran, Diana Nguyen, Joseph Pham, Joshua Tam and Alexandra Ross-King also died from MDMA toxicity or complications of MDMA use. They were aged between 18 and 23.

Mr Tran died at Knockout Circuz run by Harder Styles United Events - the same company behind the Knockout Games of Destiny.

3. Missing Victorian bushwalker survived for more than a week in the Tasmanian wilderness.


With little food and no way of contacting the outside world, Michael Bowman hunkered down in freezing Tasmanian wilderness for more than a week waiting to be found.

On Tuesday afternoon, a rescue helicopter reached him.

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The 57-year-old from Mt Waverley in Melbourne had set out on a solo bushwalk in the Lake St Clair region in early July.

He had set up camp at Mt Cuvier to do day walks in the area but got into trouble on a trip to nearby Coal Hill.

"He placed his pack down and became separated from his pack when heavy fog came into the area," Senior Constable Kristy Eyles said.

"He was unable to relocate his pack and spent a night in the cold.

"The next day he traced his footsteps back ... and made it back to his tent where he has been for approximately the last nine to 10 days."

Mr Bowman, an experienced hiker, couldn't set off his emergency beacon because it was in his lost pack and opted stay in his mustard-coloured tent.

It was spotted from the air and he was winched to safety.

Mr Bowman gave a thumbs up to media and seemed in good health when he landed in Hobart, where he has been taken for precautionary medical checks.

It followed a three-day search, which began after the alarm was raised when he didn't finish his hike on Saturday as planned.

"Without the experience that he's had in alpine trips in Victoria and also in Tasmania, it's likely we would have had a very different outcome," Senior Constable Eyles said.

"This is a great reflection of Mr Bowman's skill and experience that he's done the right thing and waited there to be rescued.

"I reckon he would be looking forward to a steak."

Crews were hampered by dangerous weather and metre-high snow on the ground.

Blizzard-like conditions has forced the evacuation of several bushwalkers from the Cradle Mountain area in recent days, including a British man and Hobart school group from Dove Lake on Tuesday.

A West Australian man and his daughter, who became stranded by snow in the region two days ago, have also been retrieved safe and well.

Terry Koziniec and Emily, 15, were reached by a search party on Tuesday afternoon and flown to safety by helicopter.

"I think we were prepared for where we were going but it was rough and it was such slow going," Mr Koziniec told the ABC.

"The cold and the wind and the rain wasn't really an issue, but the track between the huts that was meant to take three hours, pretty much took three days."

It comes after a Brisbane man was on Monday rescued from the northwest end of Lake St Clair and two NSW hikers were plucked from the Walls of Jerusalem National Park to the south.

People are urged to not go bushwalking unless they are very well-prepared for freezing weather.

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4. Lawyer claims R Kelly paid $2 million to silence alleged victim of child pornography.


Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti says R&B singer R.Kelly paid $US2 million to keep the alleged victim in a child pornography case off the witness stand during a 2008 trial that ended with his acquittal on all charges.

"R.Kelly bought his acquittal," Avenatti said at a Monday news conference in which he provided details of what he said has been a years-long effort by Kelly to prevent his sexual abuse of several girls from becoming public.

He said Kelly paid at least one associate $US100,000 to hunt down videos of him having sex with a minor that had gone missing.

Avenatti said he represented three alleged victims, three parents of victims and three associates of Kelly he called "whistleblowers".

Avenatti's comments come just days after federal prosecutors announced they'd indicted Kelly in New York and Chicago on charges he and his entourage recruited girls and young women to engage in illegal sexual activity and covered it up by paying and threatening witnesses and victims.

Kelly, 52, was arrested and remains in federal custody. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday for a bond hearing.

Much of what Avenatti said Monday had already been outlined in the indictments.

Avenatti said two associates of Kelly turned tapes of the singer having sex with minors over to him and he turned them over to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office this year.

He said Foxx's office turned those tapes over to federal prosecutors.

Avenatti faces his own legal problems: the one-time lawyer for Stormy Daniels, who says President Donald Trump tried to pay her off after she had a sexual encounter with him in 2006, has been charged with stealing money from clients and attempting to extort money from sportswear maker Nike.

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5. Netflix removes controversial 13 Reasons Why suicide scene.


Netflix is removing a graphic scene depicting a youth suicide from its popular young adult drama 13 Reasons Why following advice from medical experts.

The show, based on a book of the same name, depicts the suicide of the protagonist in the last episode of season 1, with a scene of the youth Hannah slitting her wrists in a bathtub.

The company said on Twitter that on the advice of medical experts "We've decided with the creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of 13 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life".

While critically acclaimed, the show has drawn criticism from groups including the Parents Television Council (PTC), which claim the show glorifies teen suicide.

The move to edit the scene drew praise from PTC which has also lobbied Netflix to drop the show entirely.

"Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful impact that explicit content, such as the graphic suicide scene in 13 reasons Why, is capable of inflicting on children."

Suicides by young Americans rose by almost a third in the month following the 2017 streaming debut of the popular Netflix television series, a US study found.

The National Institutes of Health-supported (NIH) study found a 28.9 per cent increase in suicide rates among US youth ages 10-17 in April 2017. It said there was an additional estimated 195 suicide deaths in that age bracket from April to December 2017, versus expectations based on past data.

The researchers said the study had limitations and that they could not make a direct "causal link" between 13 Reasons Why and the rise in suicide rates or rule out other factors.

The show tells the story of a teen who leaves behind a series of 13 tapes describing why she decided to take her life.

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