The ramifications of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse will long outlive him — and his alleged victims wanted the justice system that had failed them to know it. More than a dozen women who said the pedophile financier preyed on them tesitified Tuesday at an unsual Manhattan court hearing, the first since Epstein’s Aug. 10 suicide, according to reports from the courtroom.
Some of the 15 women reportedly identified themeslves by name, while others spoke anonymously or through attorneys. Over more than an hour, they recounted how Epstein’s abuse had upended their lives and demanded that prosecutors continue investigating his alleged crimes, news reports say.
“I am every girl he did this to, and they are all me, and today we stand together,” the actress Anouska De Georgiou said, according to The New York Times.
The women will not get to see Epstein put on trial for his lengthy trail of alleged rape, assault and coercion. Federal prosecutors sought to dismiss the sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges against him after he hanged himself at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan.
That apparently added to the pain of the abuse that some of his alleged victims have suffered. Courtney Wild said Epstein “robbed myself and all of the other victims” of the opportunity to face him in a courtroom, according to The Washington Post.
“For that, he is a coward,” Wild, who accused Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was 14, reportedly said in court. “I feel very angry, sad. And justice has never been served in this case.”
Federal prosecutors had accused Epstein in July of sexually abusing dozens of girls at his Upper East Side and Florida mansions and paying them hundreds of dollars after the encounters. He had previously pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges in Florida in a deal that has been criticized for its leniency.
As an investigation into Epstein’s death proceeds, federal authorities have indicated that they will continue to probe his alleged crimes and prosecute any of his co-conspirators.
Some of his alleged victims reportedly urged the authorities to stay on Epstein’s trail now that he is gone.
“This is not about how he died but about how he lived,” said Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has accused Epstein of keeping her as a “sex slave” when she was a teen, according to CNN. “He did not act alone. We trust the government is listening.”