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'Justice has never been served': Accusers voice their anger at Jeffrey Epstein in court

A judge ruled that the women involved in the case should have their voices heard in court.

Alleged victim of Epstein Teala Davies, right, with lawyer Gloria Allred outside court.
Alleged victim of Epstein Teala Davies, right, with lawyer Gloria Allred outside court.
Image: Louis Lanzano UPI/PA Images

IN A NEW York courtroom today, 16 women who say they were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein expressed their anger at the deceased billionaire and labelled him a “coward” and a “manipulator”. 

“He robbed me of my dreams, of my chance to pursue a career I adored,” said Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Epstein of raping her in his New York mansion when she was a 15-year-old aspiring actress.

The hearing was convened by US District Judge Richard Berman, who presided over the case after federal prosecutors had Epstein arrested last month.

The question before the judge was whether to throw out the indictment because of the defendant’s death, a usually routine step undertaken without a hearing. But the judge offered Epstein’s accusers an extraordinary opportunity to speak in court.

US financier Epstein was found dead on 10 August in a federal jail in Manhattan as he awaited trial charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

A coroner ruled that he died by suicide.

Over the years, the financier was known to have met with politicians, socialites and celebrities, including Donald Trump before he was president and Bill Clinton. Britain’s Prince Andrew, meanwhile, has said he had no knowledge of Epstein’s behaviour.

‘Justice has never been served’

In opening the session, the judge called the 66-year-old Epstein’s suicide a “rather stunning turn of events”.

He defended his decision to let the women speak, saying: “Public hearings … promote transparency and provide the court with insights and information that the court might otherwise not be aware of.”

In addition to the women who spoke in court today, statements from over a dozen others were read in court by their lawyers.

Repeatedly, the women described themselves as survivors and said they hoped coming forward would help other women.

“He is a coward,” said Courtney Wild, who has said she was sexually abused by Epstein in Florida at 14. “Justice has never been served in this case.”

“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at me,” Araoz said.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has said she was a 15-year-old working at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club when she was recruited to perform sex acts on Epstein, told the court: “My hopes were quickly dashed and my dreams were stolen.”

Sarah Ransome, who said Epstein pressured her into sex when she was in her early 20s, encouraged federal prosecutors in their effort to go after those who helped the financier in his pursuit of victims, saying, “Finish what you started. … We are survivors, and the pursuit of justice should not abate.”

Several of the women chose to testify anonymously, including one who said she was 15 when she was flown to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch. While molesting her, he was also “explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how he was helping me grow,” she said.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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