Epstein indictment mentions 3 alleged victims, there are dozens more
One girl says she celebrated her 16th birthday with multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein during the time he was sexually abusing her.
Another says she was just a middle schooler when she was first brought to his Palm Beach mansion and was abused.
Then there’s the teen who says Epstein groomed her for abuse by promising to help her get into college.
The stories are among those from dozens of girls — now women — who have publicly shared their allegations of sexual abuse by Epstein, in media reports and lawsuits, for more than a decade. Many of them shared their claims anonymously.
Epstein is in custody in New York after pleading not guilty Monday to federal charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. The indictment details the claims of three underage girls.
But prosecutors say there were many more victims, alleging that Epstein “created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit” in New York and Florida.
The Miami Herald reported in 2018 that it had identified about 80 women who say they were molested or sexually abused by Epstein between 2001 and 2006.
The newspaper’s continued reporting on the case, including articles about Epstein’s 2008 plea deal that kept him from being prosecuted for federal crimes, caught the attention of federal prosecutors in New York who brought the new charges against him.
Brad Edwards, an attorney representing multiple Epstein accusers, warned prosecutors in a letter filed in 2008 that Epstein’s 13-month prison sentence for his guilty plea to two state prostitution charges was “grossly inadequate.”
He said he believed Epstein had abused “more than 100 underage girls” and that he would continue to abuse others.
“It is inevitable that if he is not confined to prison, he will continue to manipulate and sexually abuse children and destroy more lives,” Edwards wrote.
The non-prosecution deal that Epstein agreed to in the 2008 cases also required him to register as a sex offender.
‘I didn’t believe he was arrested until I saw him in handcuffs’
Many of the girls who were allegedly abused by Epstein say they were lured to his homes under the guise of giving massages for extra money.
Courtney Wild was only 15 years old when she says she and a friend were approached in 2003 by a woman who said they could “make money by providing massages to Epstein,” according to court documents.
Wild, who initially told Epstein she had just turned 18, described taking a taxi to his multimillion-dollar Palm Beach mansion, where she was taken to a room that Epstein entered wearing only a robe. In a 2008 lawsuit that is still active, she says Epstein then disrobed, and that while she massaged him, he began to masturbate. She was paid $200. Her attorney later confirmed her name to CNN.
Over the next year, she says she visited his house more than 25 times, giving him 10 to 15 massages. She was also asked by an Epstein associate to bring more girls to his home.
Eventually, Wild said, “the massages became more sexual.”
Wild said she stopped interacting with Epstein after he touched her vagina during a massage.
For more than a decade, she and other victims have fought to get their allegations investigated in a lawsuit against the government.
Monday, as Epstein appeared in federal court in Manhattan, Wild was there in person.
“I have fought so long to finally see Epstein brought to justice,” Wild told CNN in a statement Tuesday through her attorney. “I didn’t believe he was arrested until I saw him in handcuffs with my own eyes.”
Wild said she is speaking out to encourage other victims to come forward. CNN was unable to confirm if Wild is one of the victims whose claims are part of the latest indictment.
But her story is similar to those of many other women who allege they were sexually abused by Epstein, some, while they were minors. Some have joined Wild’s suit against the government alleging victims were denied their rights when the government failed to consult with them before agreeing to a non-prosecution deal with Epstein and called for that agreement to be thrown out.
Promises of help for college
A woman identified as Jane Doe 103 in court filings said Epstein at first lured her to his Palm Beach estate with promises of modeling opportunities, and later bragged about his academic connections, telling her he could help her get into college. He discouraged her from applying for a “Bright Futures Scholarship” to the Florida college of her choice, saying that he could help her get into New York University or Columbia University. The accuser claims she ended up not applying to any college and missed the first semester of her freshman year. Her case was dismissed by a Florida judge in 2010.
Many of Epstein’s victims were economically disadvantaged, prosecutors say.
One woman who filed a lawsuit under the alias L.M. in Florida in 2009 — a suit that was later dismissed — says she was a 14-year-old in middle school who didn’t have adequate parental support when she was brought to Epstein’s Florida mansion in 2002. Her suit says Epstein “enticed the impressionable, vulnerable and economically deprived” girl to be sexually abused.
Virginia Giuffre says she was 15 years old when she was approached by an associate of Epstein’s while she worked at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, and was offered the opportunity to make “a great deal of money” learning about massage therapy. She originally filed a suit anonymously with allegations of sexual abuse against Epstein, but later went public.
Giuffre claims in her suit, filed in 2009 and dismissed later that year, that when she entered Epstein’s home and climbed the stairs to his massage room, the walls lining the staircase were plastered with nude photographs of young girls. She says she was ordered to remove her clothes and straddle Epstein, which escalated into Epstein and a female associate sexually abusing her “in various ways and in various locations.”
Giuffre claims in her suit that from 1998 to 2002, she and a “countless array of young women” would be brought to one of Epstein’s homes to be sexually exploited. She also alleges that Epstein knew she was underage the entire time he abused her, and even celebrated her 16th birthday with her.
After Epstein’s arrest in 2008, Giuffre said she spent years trying to shine a light on the sex crimes she says Epstein and his associates committed against her. She’s also a part of the lawsuit against the government asking for victims’ claims to be investigated.
“It is time for Jeffrey Epstein and those who participated and enabled his sex crimes to be brought to true justice,” Giuffre said in a statement through her attorney.
More victims coming forward
While announcing Epstein’s indictment on Monday, Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman pointed to a poster of the hedge fund owner and asked other victims to come forward.
“If you believe you are a victim of this man, Jeffrey Epstein, or you have evidence or information relating to the conduct alleged in the indictment … we want to hear from you,” Berman told the room full of cameras.
By Wednesday, another woman accusing Epstein of sexual assault went public with her allegations on NBC’s “The Today Show.”
Jennifer Araoz said she also was “recruited” in New York by a woman who appeared to work for Epstein, and she started giving him massages, wearing only her underwear, when she was 14.
Those encounters in his Manhattan mansion became more sexual in nature, with Epstein masturbating at the end of the massage, she said. After about a year, when she was 15, he forcibly raped her, Araoz said.
“I thought it was my fault, I thought I was obligated. I didn’t know better,” Araoz told NBC.
Araoz said she never went back to Epstein’s home after that, and only told a few people close to her about the incident.
Araoz’s attorney, Kimberly Lerner, told CNN her client does not plan to go to authorities with her allegations but is willing to cooperate if they contact her to be a part of the investigation.
Other alleged victims are reaching out to the US Attorney’s Office and private attorneys.
David Boies, who had been representing three women accusing Epstein of sexual abuse before financier’s arrest this weekend, tells CNN he now represents seven women. Earlier this week, he told CNN he had gotten calls from four possible accusers in the 24 hours since the indictment against Epstein was unsealed.
He told CNN the four new accusers have not spoken publicly before and that at least one of them was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse.
“It was tremendous help in publicizing this, in getting people to think about it and focus on it,” Boies said earlier this week. “People are reluctant to come forward but when they see other people come forward, it encourages them.”
He hopes prosecutors focus not only on hearing from more victims, but on investigating the actions of others in Epstein’s inner circle who, victims say, either abused victims themselves, or helped him commit sexual abuse.
“We hope that the prosecutors will not stop with Mr. Epstein but will also turn their attention to the several people who were part of Mr. Epstein’s enterprise,” Boies said.
CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski, Madeline Thompson, Curt Devine, Elizabeth Joseph and Alanne Orjoux contributed to this report