Accuser says Epstein raped her when she was 15

NBC News/Today

An accuser of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein said Tuesday that she was recruited outside a high school when she was 14 years old before allegedly being raped a year later.

Jennifer Araoz, now 32, told NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie that a young woman recruited her outside of a New York City performing arts high school that she attended in the fall of 2001 and then brought her to Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse just blocks away.

“She was definitely trying to get to know me, trying to find out where I was from, where I grew up, who I lived with,” Araoz said.

Araoz said the woman described Epstein as wealthy and a “great guy” who could help her with her career.{mosads}

Araoz said that during her first few visits to Epstein’s house they talked about things like her dream of being on Broadway and her late father.

She added that the first time they were alone, Epstein gave her a tour of the mansion and took her to his “favorite room in the house” — a room with a massage table on the floor and a painting of a naked woman on the wall.

It was there that Araoz alleges Epstein raped her at 15 years old.

“He raped me, forcefully raped me,” Araoz told NBC News, adding that “he knew exactly what he was doing.”

“I was terrified and I was telling him to stop. ‘Please stop’ … he did not stop,” she continued. “He had no intentions of stopping and that’s what he wanted, that’s what he got.”

Araoz is one of more than 30 girls who have accused Epstein of sexual assault.

Epstein was convicted in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from underaged girls, with then-U.S. Attorney and now-Trump Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta approving a plea deal that enabled him to serve 13 months in “custody with work release.” The deal also let Epstein spend 16 hours a day outside of prison.

He was arrested in New Jersey Saturday on new sex trafficking charges, and prosecutors allege he sexually abused dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman has said federal agents discovered nude photographs of apparently underage girls in his New York mansion.

Epstein, who has been connected socially to both President Trump and former President Bill Clinton, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years in prison.

–This report was updated at 10:28 a.m.

Tags Alex Acosta Alexander Acosta Bill Clinton Donald Trump Jeffrey Epstein Jennifer Araoz Sexual assault

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