Several women who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abused them at a young age have expressed anger and defiance in a courtroom in New York, some complaining that the financier’s suicide prevented them to obtain justice.
“The fact that I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul,” accuser Jennifer Araoz said during a 2-1/2 hour hearing.
“I will not let him win in death,” another woman, Chauntae Davies, told the court. She said Epstein had hired her to give massages but he raped her the third or fourth time they met on his private island and continued to abuse her.
The emotional statements, with some accusers holding back tears, came less than three weeks after Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges involving dozens of girls as young as 14.
In all, 16 women testified, including six who did so without giving their names, and lawyers read statements from seven other women.
The accusers detailed Epstein’s actions against them and implored prosecutors to hold Epstein’s co-conspirators responsible.
US District Judge Richard Berman let the women testify despite the fact that Epstein’s death meant he would never face a trial.
Federal prosecutors asked the judge to formally dismiss the women’s case against Epstein because of his death but said the government’s investigation into potential co-conspirators was continuing.
The wealthy 66-year-old money manager was found dead August 10 in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan. An autopsy concluded that he hanged himself.
Epstein’s death has triggered investigations by the US Justice Department, the FBI and the US Bureau of Prisons, which runs the federal detention facility in Manhattan.
“He showed the world what a depraved and cowardly human being he was by taking his own life,” said Sarah Ransome, another of the women.
“Please, please finish what you started. We all know he did not act alone,” she said.