Now that Jeffrey Epstein has apparently succeeded in killing himself, some of his victims are speaking up. They’re not happy that he has short-circuited a trial where he would need to face his accusers. Jennifer Araoz who came forward last month and accused Epstein of raping her when she was just 15-years-old released a statement. From NBC News:
“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court,” she said in a statement. “We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
That last point seems like the big one. Jennifer Araoz didn’t wind up at Epstein’s mansion at age 14 because she personally met the billionaire at her high school. She was recruited into Epstein’s orbit by a woman who kept showing up at the school trying to befriend her. So far, none of Epstein’s recruiters have faced any jail time.
Yesterday I wrote about the release of documents from a lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts against Gislaine Maxwell. Roberts named a number of people who are now less likely to face justice because the man who could have confirmed or denied their involvement is dead. Today, Roberts’ attorney suggested it wasn’t a coincidence that Epstein had taken his own life so soon after those materials from his client’s lawsuit were released:
Sigrid McCawley, lawyer to Roberts Giuffre and other victims, said the fact that Epstein took his own life less than 24 hours after the documents were released detailing “the scope, scale and sophistication of the international sex trafficking operation Epstein conducted, is no coincidence.”
“We are hopeful that the government will continue to investigate and will focus on those who participated and facilitated Epstein’s horrifying sex trafficking scheme that damaged so many,” McCawley said.
Bottom line: Epstein was facing serious time and might have been persuaded to talk about all the other people involved in his sex ring in exchange for some leniency. Now that can’t happen. Attorney Lisa Bloom (last seen defending Harvey Weinstein) also represents some of Epstein’s alleged victims:
Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice.
Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) August 10, 2019
Bloom told MSNBC this morning that she would continue to sue Epstein’s estate:
“You can’t criminally prosecute someone who is dead. But you can still sue his estate for money damages so that they [the victims] can get full and fair compensation for the life long damage that he caused them. The damage to their relationships, to their self-esteem, their career opportunities shattered, and we intend to proceed with that immediately,” said Bloom on MSNBC. “We are going to get justice for these victims we are not giving up. He is not going to escape justice even in death.”
It really is disappointing that this may all come down to lawyers picking the bones of Epstein’s estate. There were a lot of other people involved in this. Some were apparently supplying Epstein with young girls who wanted to be models. Some were recruiting young girls from high schools. And some were taking advantage of these young girls with Epstein’s blessing. The whole lot of them should be in prison for a long time. To the degree that Epstein’s death makes that less likely now, it’s a real shame.
Here’s Jennifer Araoz interview from the Today show: