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More than a dozen new women have come forward accusing billionaire Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse in the days after the financier was arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges.
At least four women have reached out to New York lawyer David Boies and at least 10 other women have contacted other lawyers as the case against Epstein continues to build, according to The Miami Herald.
Palm Beach attorney Jack Scarola told the paper at least five women, who were all minors at the time of the alleged abuse, had reached out to him or lawyer Brad Edwards about being abused at the hands of the wealthy finance manager, who is currently behind bars.
“The people we are speaking to are underage victims in Florida and in New York. They are not individuals whose claims have previously been part of any law enforcement investigation,’’ Scarola said.
Epstein is facing federal sex-trafficking charges after authorities say he lured dozens of underage girls to his mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach for illicit sex acts.
According to an indictment released Monday, the convicted sex offender recruited underage girls to perform “massages” on him while they were either nude or partially nude, then continued to escalate the encounters as they became “increasingly sexual in nature.”
The acts typically included groping, direct and indirect contact with the victim’s genitals, and touching the victim’s genitals with his hands or sex toys, the indictment said.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
But as news of Epstein’s arrest grows—more women are coming forward to share their stories of alleged abuse.
Jennifer Araoz told NBC News earlier this week that she crossed paths with the wealthy fund manager in the fall of 2001 when she was just 14 years old. She said she was approached outside her New York City high school by another young girl who brought her over to Epstein’s home.
At first, Araoz said she just talked with the billionaire and the other girl—but soon the visits escalated into something more when Epstein coerced her into giving him massages in her panties. He allegedly paid her $300 for the encounters, the now 32-year-old said.
But a year later, in September 2002, she said Epstein grabbed her and forced himself upon her.
“He raped me, forcefully raped me,” she told NBC News. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”
Araoz never returned to the multi-million dollar townhome or reported the abuse to authorities, but said she did confide in her mother and several close friends over the years.
It’s not clear whether she is one of the women who has reached out to an attorney.
A search of Epstein’s town home over the weekend allegedly uncovered hundreds of images of naked women—some of whom were believed to be underage girls—locked in a safe.
The home also reportedly had other oddities including a “life-size female doll hanging from a chandelier,” a hallway full of framed eyeballs, and a photorealistic over-sized painting of Epstein standing in a prison yard, according to New York Magazine.
Epstein’s attorneys are hoping the financier—who has been linked in the past to President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton—will be released from jail and allowed to await trial at his $77 million Manhattan townhome.
Epstein has offered to waive his extradition rights, ground his personal jet and put up his Manhattan home as collateral in exchange for his release. He also agreed to where a GPS tracking device.
His attorneys argued Thursday before a Manhattan federal judge that even before his arrest, the 66-year-old had known federal charges were possible and yet “continually returned home from travel abroad,” Fox News reports.
He was arrested Saturday at a New Jersey airport after returning home from Paris.
However, prosecutors have argued that Epstein’s extreme wealth makes him an “extraordinary” flight risk. They also argue that due to the severity of the charges against him and possibility of a lengthy prison sentence, he has “tremendous incentives to use those means to flee prosecution.”
Spencer Kuvin, a Palm Beach attorney who represents three of Epstein’s accusers, agrees he shouldn’t be released.
“I don’t care if he gives up his license and his jet, he still has the wherewithal to take off any time,” he told the local paper. “Think about it—if he was a plumber in Queens, do you think the judge would say ‘Yeah, let’s give him an ankle bracelet and send him home?’”
Authorities and lawyers for the victims are also concerned about possible victim intimidation if Epstein were to be released.
Authorities began an initial probe into Epstein’s activities in 2005 after the parents of one of the minor victims went to police. Investigators soon uncovered dozens of other victims in the case—but Epstein would strike a highly controversial deal allowing him to plead guilty to two state level charges of prostitution to avoid any further federal prosecution in Florida.
However, during the probe in 2005-2006, witnesses in the case reported being intimidated by associates of Epstein.
A father of one of the victim’s told Palm Beach police someone had followed him and forced him off the road. After collecting the license plate number, he gave it to police and discovered the car had been linked to a private investigator hired by Epstein’s legal team, according to a police report obtained by The Miami Herald.
One of the detectives in the case, Joe Recarey, also told the paper he believed he was being followed during the investigation.
“At some point it became like a cat-and-mouse game,” he said. “I would stop at a red light and go. I knew they were there, and they knew I knew they were there.”
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman is expected to decide whether to grant Epstein’s request at a hearing on Monday.
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