On August 27, New York witnessed testimonials from 16 women who were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, labeling him a coward and a manipulator. This event took place after the judge presiding over this case granted them permission to speak which they were earlier denied when Epstein committed suicide in his jail cell.
One such victim by the name of Jennifer Araoz who accused Epstein of sexually assaulting her in his mansion in New York when she was only 15 years of age and aspiring to be an actor, said “The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul". She also stated “Even in death, Epstein is trying to hurt me. I had hoped to at last get an apology, but this evil man had no remorse or care for what he did to anyone.
The legal hearing was helmed by US District Judge Richard M. Berman, who was the same judge who took over the Epstein case after prosecutors had charged and arrested Epstein last month in July. The situation before the judge was to annul the formal charge against the defendant who was now dead, a decision making step was taken without the hearing in the picture. But Judge Richard M. Berman presented the accusers a chance to come forward and speak out in court. Other than the victims who spoke- some coming forward for the first time, declarations by some of the victims were communicated by their legal representatives.
The accusers let out their anger over Jeffrey Epstein's supposed felony and his death in his jail cell on August 10 while waiting for the case based on sex-trafficking accusations that involved a lot of teenage girls. The women frequently called themselves survivors and they wished that speaking out would be of help to other people as well. Actor Anoushka De Georgiou who was sexually abused when she was in her teens stated: “I was a victim, but I will not remain a victim and be silent for one more day". Also, she was quoted saying "Although I think it’s tragic when anybody dies before their time, I’m extremely relieved that Jeffrey Epstein will not be in a position to hurt any more children or any more women".
American citizen Courtney Wild, who claimed that Epstein sexually abused her in Florida when she was just 14 years of age, called out Jeffrey as a "coward" who had robbed her and all his victims of their day in court to confront him. Virginia Roberts Giraffe was a 15-year-old who was working at US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club when she was hired to perform sexual acts on Epstein. She conveyed to the court that “My hopes were quickly dashed, and my dreams were stolen.”
One of the accusers, Sarah Ransome, claimed that Epstein forced her into having sex with him when she was in her early 20s, requested with the prosecutors to bring the people responsible in helping the disgraced financier to justice. She stated, “Please, please finish what you started". Some of the women were embarrassed with what happened to them, accusing Epstein of manipulating them, showcasing his monetary power and relations to celebrities and figures in the field of politics, while taking advantage of their vulnerable situations.
District Judge Berman backed his decision of letting the victims speak on the basis of promoting transparency. Teala Davies, while taking deep breaths in court, composed herself and claimed that she was 17 when Epstein sexually assaulted her. She was also of the opinion that Epstein was the most powerful man she had ever met. While talking about her ordeal in court she said: “But the end is here, and here I stand, becoming more powerful than he will ever be".
Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's girlfriend is under the scanner for hiring young women for Epstein's pleasure and being part of the sexual abuse act. When Epstein killed himself, he was being held without bail based on allegations of sexually abusing girls in the early half of the 2000s at the mansions he owned in New York and Florida.
(With inputs from AP)