A WOMAN has come forward to accuse billionaire Jeffrey Epstein of grooming her when she was just 14 before “forcefully raping” her without a condom.
Jennifer Araoz, now 32, claims she was approached by a female “recruiter” for the financier while she was standing outside her school in New York in 2001.
Jeffrey Epstein is accused of paying underage girls for massages and then molesting them[/caption]
The makeup artist told how she was persuaded to visit Epstein’s Manhattan mansion where she was allegedly paid to give him massages dressed only in her underwear.
The visits continued once or twice a week until she turned 15, when she claims Epstein told her to take off her knickers and climb on top of him.
“He raped me, forcefully raped me,” Ms Araoz told NBC’s Today show.
“I don’t want to say I was screaming, or anything of that nature. But I was terrified. And I was telling him to stop,” she said.
She even left her high school because it was so close to his mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side[/caption]
“He had no intentions of stopping. He knew exactly what he was doing.”
Ms Araoz said she was “terrified” and never returned to Epstein’s home.
She even left her high school because it was so close to his mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
The 32-year-old told Today she never went to cops because she feared retribution from the well-connected Epstein.
Epstein, 66, is now facing federal charges of abusing dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
He has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges.
The indictment could land him behind bars for up to 45 years if he is convicted.
‘I WAS AFRAID TO COME FORWARD’
“What hurts me even more so is that if I wasn’t afraid to come forward sooner, then maybe he wouldn’t have done it to other girls,” Ms Araoz said.
“I feel really guilty to this day.”
Epstein has not been charged with assaulting Ms Araoz.
But her account contradicts his defence attorneys’ contention that Epstein never used violence or coerced anyone who gave him massages.
Ms Araoz’s attorneys claim she was targeted because she was vulnerable – as her dad had died just two years before she was approached.
“She was a child a child on welfare, with no father, who was groomed, recruited and preyed upon,” said attorney Kimberly Lerner.
‘USED HER DAD’S DEATH TO GET CLOSE’
Epstein has even been accused of using her dad’s recent death from an AIDS-related illness to get close to the girl.
The complaint claims he spent more than a month giving her hundreds of dollars and gifts like a camera while purporting to be an AIDS activist.
She claims the female “recruiter” told her Epstein was a caring person who would help her with her career.
Ms Araoz found Epstein welcoming and he showed her around his mansion filled with exotic taxidermy and “suggestive paintings”.
He had an open bathtub with prosthetic breasts on the wall in a bathroom that he could look at or play with while having a soak, Ms Araoz claimed.
“It was very odd,” she added.
After a few weeks of visits, each ending with a $300 payment, she said she was escorted to a “massage room,” with a ceiling painted to resemble angels in a blue sky.
There, she said, she would give him massages that would often lead to sex acts.
“I take care of you, you take care of me,” Epstein told her, according to her court papers.
She said Epstein had a painting of a naked woman that he said resembled her.
But after Epstein allegedly raped her, Ms Araoz never returned.
Epstein’s staff continued trying to contact her for about a year, Ms Araoz said, but she didn’t respond.
She suffered from crippling anxiety, depression and panic attacks following the alleged attack.
A once-secret agreement allowed Epstein to avoid a potentially lengthy prison sentence nearly a decade ago in a case involving nearly identical allegations of sexually abusing underage girls.
Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges and spent 13 months in jail.
That plea deal was supposed to protect Epstein from federal prosecution, his lawyers say.
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They argue the new federal charges should be dismissed.
The new charges were brought by federal prosecutors in New York, who say the Florida deal does not apply to them.
They said the new charges overlap with the earlier case but include new allegations and victims from New York.
Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse was raided by officers[/caption]
Accusers Michelle Licata and Courtney Wild at Epstein’s latest hearing[/caption]
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