A new accuser in the Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking case has come forward, NBC News reports, with 32-year-old Jennifer Araoz saying he raped her when she was 15 years old.
Araoz tells NBC that she was 14 when a young woman approached her outside her high school in New York City in 2001 and talked with her about a kind, wealthy man she knew: financier Jeffrey Epstein. The young woman invited her to meet him at his townhouse nearby.
Araoz went to his home several times, along with the young woman, and everyone just talked, she says. Araoz recalls telling Epstein that she hoped to become a Broadway actress and describing her father, who had died of AIDS.
Then she visited without the other woman, she says, and Epstein gave her a tour of his mansion, bringing her to a room with a massage table. There, she tells NBC, over the next year, she was manipulated into stripping down to her underwear and giving Epstein massages that ended with him pleasuring himself. He would pay her $300, she says.
In 2002, when she was 15, she says, he pressured her to remove her underwear and grabbed her. “He raped me, forcefully raped me,” Araoz tells NBC. “He knew exactly what he was doing.” She adds, “I was terrified, and I was telling him to stop. ‘Please stop.'”
She says she never returned to his home after that day.
Epstein, 66, was arrested on Saturday, charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. He is accused of luring dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, to his Manhattan townhouse as well as to a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, The New York Times reports, citing the indictment. He also asked some of the girls to recruit other underage girls, the indictment said.
The charges are a revival of another case against Epstein, who had faced similar accusations involving girls in South Florida more than a decade ago, but was shielded by a 2008 plea deal, according to the Times. For years, women have accused him of preying on them when they were underage. But he remained protected from federal charges by his plea deal.
The U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, said his office was not bound by the 2008 agreement, according to the Times. “That agreement, by its terms, only binds the Southern District of Florida,” he said.
In the current case, investigators seized hundreds of nude photos of young women and girls from Epstein’s Manhattan home, according to the Times.
Read the full story at NBC News.