Epstein victims come forward in emotional hearing
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More than a dozen women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse shared their stories in a courtroom Tuesday, The New York Times reported.

District Court Judge Richard Berman announced last week that the federal criminal case against late financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein would not be closed until after Tuesday’s hearing to give victims a chance to speak about their experiences. 

The case against Epstein is expected to be closed following his death by suicide in a Manhattan prison earlier this month.

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But Tuesday, the women who have accused Epstein of sex crimes, including when multiple of them were minors, were given the chance to share their allegations and how the reported abuse has affected them in a public hearing.

Chauntae Davies, who was recruited to be a masseuse for Epstein, described graphically how Epstein allegedly raped her over multiple years and the sense of loss she felt after his death because he would not stand trial for the sex trafficking charges involving dozens of female minors that he was hit with earlier this year.

“It took me a long time to come forward,” Davies said, The Washington Post reported. “Every public humiliation that I endured, I have suffered, and he has won.” 

“I have found my voice now,” she continued. “I will not stop fighting.” 

Courtney Wild, who has alleged that Epstein raped her when she was 14 years old, said Epstein’s death by suicide “robbed myself and all of the other victims” of the chance to confront their alleged abuser in a courtroom, according to The Washington Post.

“For that, he is a coward,” Wild said. “I feel very angry, sad. And justice has never been served in this case.”

Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she was 15, said, “The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at me,” USA Today reported.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who accused Epstein of recruiting her to perform sex acts when she was 15, said, “My hopes were quickly dashed and my dreams were stolen.”

As of noon, eight survivors had spoken, the Post reported. Five spoke anonymously as “Jane Doe.” One said she still struggles to call herself a victim. Another said that she was “re-traumatized” by Epstein’s death.

Another letter, addressed “Dear Jeffrey,” accused the man of having an “illness.” 

Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges earlier this year, which would have carried a 45-year sentence.

If you are a sexual assault survivor you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or reach it online at hotline.rainn.org/online.

People experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.