In fall 2001, Jennifer Araoz, then just 14-years-old, claims she was recruited by a 20-year-old woman to give sexual massages to Jeffrey Epstein, reports NBC News. The young woman, who approached the freshman right outside her New York high school, was friendly, asking Araoz questions about her family life. She soon brought up Epstein, characterizing him as an extremely wealthy and good man.
“She was saying he’s very powerful, he’s very wealthy, he’s a great guy,” stated Araoz. “He’s almost like a fatherly figure to her, which had meaning for me at that time because I was maybe longing for that.”
The woman eventually escorted Araoz to Epstein’s impressive Manhattan townhouse with high ceilings and marble walls. At first, they just talked. During their conversation, Araoz opened up about her father’s death from AIDS two years prior. After the first visit, Epstein gave the young woman a digital camera and $300.
After a month, Araoz visited Epstein without the young woman. The first time the high school student was alone with the millionaire, he took her to a room with a painting of a naked young woman hanging above a massage table. Epstein told Araoz she resembled the nude woman.
Throughout the following year, Araoz was coerced into giving Epstein massages at least once a week in her underwear while the financier pleasured himself. After each horrifying session, Epstein would give the minor $300. While she felt uncomfortable, Araoz needed the money.
It was fall 2002 when Epstein first raped her, she said.
“He raped me, forcefully raped me. He knew exactly what he was doing. I was terrified, and I was telling him to stop. ‘Please stop,'” revealed Araoz.
Epstein did not stop. After the assault, Araoz refused to return to her abuser’s townhouse.
Due to the significant trauma, she suffered for many years down the line. Araoz dropped out of high school and had debilitating anxiety.
Prior to now, Araoz kept her experience with Epstein a secret, save for her mother, an ex-boyfriend, and two friends.
“She said that she was raped by Epstein and before the rape she had been giving him massages for a year,” one of her friends confirmed.
Araoz, now a makeup artist in Queens, is still traumatized over what Epstein did to her.
On Monday, Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in New York and Florida from 2002 through 2005. As reported by NBC News, the wealthy financier paid girls for sex. Like Araoz, the children were first asked to massage Epstein. Later, they were forcefully raped.
He has plead not guilty.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, please call RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.