SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Jeffery Epstein, the millionaire financier, convicted of a sex crime, owned property here in New Mexico, but he didn’t have to register as a sex offender. Now, a state lawmaker is hoping to change that law. Epstein tried to register as a sex offender, but state officials informed him that he wasn’t required to do so.
“He was not required to register as a sex offender in New Mexico and I’m trying to fix that,” said Rep. Matthew McQueen (D- Santa Fe).
Epstein was a registered sex offender in Florida after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution. Fast forward to July of last year, he was charged again with sexually abusing and trafficking underage girls. According to a lawsuit, some of those young girls were abused at his sprawling Zorro Ranch, south of Santa Fe, that leased state trust land.
“It sickens me to think that something like this could’ve happened on our land,” said New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richards.
Representative McQueen said Epstein skirted registering as a sex offender here in New Mexico because of loopholes.
“He was convicted in Florida and the elements of the crime in Florida did not match the elements up to the crime in New Mexico,” said Rep. McQueen.
This new bill would close those loopholes. “One, it shortens the time that you can spend in New Mexico before you have to register,” said Rep. McQueen. “Current statute is 30 days, it shortens that to ten consecutive days in a calendar year.”
And to avoid another sex scandal like Epstein’s in the future. “It also states that if you were required to register as a sex offender in the jurisdiction where you committed the offense, then you’re required to register here,” said Rep. McQueen.
Sex offenders have already been fighting this type of legislation; in October, sex offenders who moved to New Mexico are suing the state for making them register. Claiming they weren’t given due process.
Sex allegations against Epstein in New Mexico date back to the mid-90’s. Despite Epstein’s suicide, prosecutors are still moving forward with an investigation.