U.S. News

NY financier pleads guilty in Florida sex scandal

MIAMI (Reuters) - New York financier Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty on Monday to felony solicitation of prostitution and procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution.

Under a plea agreement filed in court in West Palm Beach, where Epstein owns a waterfront mansion, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by a year of house arrest.

Epstein, 55, was also designated a sex offender and ordered to have no unsupervised contact with minors after his release.

Lawyers for Epstein could not be reached for comment. But his guilty plea is the latest twist in a case stemming from a lengthy probe by Palm Beach police that the reputed billionaire paid several girls under 18 in return for naked massages at his Palm Beach home that sometimes involved alleged sexual assaults.

Several civil lawsuits stemming from the allegations are pending against Epstein.

Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Jim Loney