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New Epstein Accuser Says She Was Recruited as a Freshman

Jennifer Araoz speaks to NBC News
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2019 8:52 AM CDT
In this July 30, 2008, file photo, Jeffrey Epstein, center, appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via AP, File)

(Newser) – The federal indictment against Jeffrey Epstein references three unidentified victims. Jennifer Araoz is not one of them. But the 32-year-old tells NBC News' Today Show she was raped by Epstein at age 15; she never went to police, but she says she did tell four people, who confirmed her account to NBC. Her story starts in New York City in the fall of 2001. She says a woman in her 20s came up to her outside her Upper East Side high school and struck up a series of conversations, asking the then-freshman about her family (her father had died of AIDS a couple years earlier) and financial situation. Araoz says the woman eventually brought up a well-off man who was a sort of father-figure for her and lived not far from the school. That "had meaning for me at that time because I was maybe longing for that," says Araoz.

She says the woman introduced her to Epstein, and that initially the three of them visited together; Epstein impressed upon her the donations he made to AIDS charities, and she was given $300 at the end of each visit. The first time the woman didn't join her, things changed. Araoz alleges Epstein gave her a home tour, ending with his "favorite room," which she describes as containing a massage table and a painting of a naked young woman; she says he told her the painting reminded him of her. She says he then coerced her into massaging him wearing only panties. As the visits—which his secretary allegedly scheduled once or twice a week—progressed, she says he began to masturbate during the massages. In the fall of 2002, as a 15-year-old, she says he instructed her to completely undress and "he raped me, forcefully raped me," as she told him to stop. She never went back. Read the full story for the damage Araoz says it did to her life. (Read more Jeffrey Epstein stories.)

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