Nor is it likely to be the last gasp in the suffering of many of the women who accused him of abuse (accounts estimate the number to be more than several dozen). Because Epstein was the only person named in the sex trafficking indictment (to which he pleaded not guilty), the criminal case against him will be dropped. As a result, none of the women who have fought bravely to tell their stories will get their day in court against Epstein.
It’s a mixed bag of emotions, to be sure. For some, avoiding the process of trial may come as a relief, as some studies have shown that testifying in sexual assault trials can be re-traumatizing. Epstein, meanwhile, was so powerful that the fear of retaliation was likely strong.
But for many others, Epstein’s apparent control over his fate, even at the very end, will feel like the ultimate shirking of accountability. So far it’s this latter response that his accusers have articulated most. Jennifer Araoz, who says she was raped by Epstein at age 15 after being recruited outside her New York City high school, said in a statement, “I am angry…. 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.”