In lieu of a trial, Jeffrey Epstein accusers got a three-hour hearing and a press conference, in which to share their stories and urge authorities to continue prosecuting those who enabled Epstein in allegedly sex trafficking and raping minors.
In total, 15 women spoke in court, and of those, 10 identified themselves by name. One survivor, Courtney Wild, who says Epstein’s sexual abuse began when she was just 14, explained to the court that she felt Epstein had “robbed myself and all of the other victims” of the opportunity to see him tried for his crimes after guards found him dead by apparent suicide in his cell last month:
“For that, he is a coward,” Wild continued. “I feel very angry, sad. And justice has never been served in this case.”
Two other survivors, Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome, reminded the court that Epstein did not act alone and asked that the case not die with him:
“The reckoning must not end, it must continue,” Giuffre said. “He did not act alone. We the victims know that.” Ransome added, “Please, please finish what you have started. … We all know he did not act alone.”
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Many of the women who spoke specifically mentioned socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a former girlfriend of Epstein’s, who has been accused of scouting and grooming victims, but has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the case and has denied any involvement.
Jennifer Araoz, who claims she was raped by Epstein when she was 15 years old expressed anger at the fact that guards allegedly failed to conduct mandated checks on the prisoner every 30 minutes and are accused of falsifying logs to cover up their mistake:
“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at me,” she added. “They let this man kill himself and kill the chance for justice for so many others.”
The hearing was called after prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss charges against Epstein because he is dead, and while U.S. District Judge Richard Berman has yet to announce a decision, the dismissal is most likely forthcoming.