Epstein Case Shockingly Similar to Another Millionaire Kiddie Porn Case

The alarming Jeffrey Epstein case has all of the elements of a titillating crime drama – pornography, salacious activity possibly involving Royalty and other well-known VIPs, implications of payoffs, maybe even murder, or faked-death – made all the more shocking because it’s not a made-for-TV movie, but real life.

As dramatic as the case is, it is not the first of its kind. In fact, there was a case over four decades ago that bears an amazing resemblance to the Epstein Case.

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This case involved another millionaire pedophile by the name of Francis D. Shelden, and revolved around his private island in Lake Michigan called North Fox Island – an island not unlike Epstein’s own “orgy paradise” in the Caribbean, where even worse things seem to have taken place.

According to reporting by the Business Insider, and other sources, in 1960, Sheldon outbid the state government for the island, which is shaped like an upside-down teardrop. North Fox Island hovers 19 miles off the coast of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. The state offered the then owner, an elderly widow, about $3,500. The Detroit Free Press reported Shelden gave her $20,000 for it, he wanted isolation and he got it.

Like Epstein, Shelden had a private plane. The runway still cuts across Lake Michigan’s North Fox Island, faded like an old scar. The airstrip is the first thing that Francis D. Shelden built after buying his hideaway.

Then, in a seeming act of philanthropy, he opened the island up as a “youth camp” for underprivileged boys, known as Brother Paul’s Nature Camp. According to a former reporter with the Detroit Free Press, “The premise of the organization was to give disadvantaged boys experience camping out in nature.” But the stated mission apparently concealed the camp’s real purpose.

The young campers would arrive in the summer, flown in by Shelden himself on his plane, he was a pilot and ex-Air National Guardsman. Soon after touching down on the Island the boys were ushered into cottages concealed by beech and elm trees. That was before they became “stuck in a spider’s web of sexual abuse and child pornography,” as survivors of Shelden’s depravities described it.

The Island Was Really a Child Pornography Ring and Production Facility

According to the Business Insider report, the North Fox Island operation functioned essentially as a subscription service centered on the production of child pornography and the sexual abuse of boys ages 7 to 16. In exchange for their contributions, the camp’s wealthy and well-connected “sponsors” could receive pornography that police said was produced on the island, or even visit the island themselves.

If this all sounds eerily familiar, the case of Shelden and Lake Michigan’s North Fox Island bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s Epstein scandal. Both cases center on allegations that secretive millionaires weaponized their philanthropic giving, and provided cliques of connected friends with access to private island paradises to prey on young victims and escape justice. Like Shelden, Epstein was a millionaire, a philanthropist, and a man with very powerful friends.

And, like Epstein, Shelden also never stood trial for the most heinous of the crimes for which he was accused. But, unlike Epstein, who some say met some degree of justice at the end of a noose tied by his own hand, soon after the accusations surfaced about the wicked and amoral goings-on at North Fox Island, Shelden disappeared.

While others involved with Shelden and Brother Paul’s Nature Camp were arrested and faced charges of child abuse and child pornography, Shelden himself was never extradited and is believed to have died in Amsterdam on September 5, 1996, according to a Michigan State Police report from 1997.

The report notes that the warrant for Shelden was canceled as the “suspect is deceased and cannot be prosecuted but was obviously involved.”

We act shocked and surprised when we hear about cases such as Shelden’s and Epstein’s, but we shouldn’t be, says, J. Reuben Appelman’s, who’s book The Kill Jar, delves into the horrors at North Fox Island. “There are very dark rooms in the homes of the uber-rich,” Appelman told Business Insider.

“There are dark corners in their minds. The Sheldens [and Epsteins] of the world are at home in those dark places. They don’t think the way we think. It’s true that money and power corrupt, but it’s also true that the already corrupt gain money and power with much more ease than people who have consciences.”

Appleman went on, “The Frank Sheldens of the world are predictable. What’s surprising is that we don’t acknowledge that. We act surprised, but it’s predictable when you have so much money and so much access — so much power over individuals.”