A New York woman has stepped forward and accused multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein of raping her as a teenager. Jennifer Araoz, now 32, spoke to NBC’s Today Show and revealed disturbing details of how she was recruited by Epstein’s staff at the age of 14, groomed, asked to perform sexual services for Epstein, and then raped when she was 15 years old.
“I take care of you, you take care of me,” Araoz said Epstein told her after the sexual assault.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges brought forth by The Southern District Court of New York. Although Araoz in not part of the current criminal complaint, her lawyers have filed papers in the Manhattan Supreme Court indicating her intention to file a lawsuit against Epstein on August 14, when a new law takes effect allowing adult survivors of child sexual abuse to sue their abuser.
Here’s what you need to know about Jennifer Araoz:
1. Araoz Says She Was Recruited Outside of Her High School
Araoz said she was a 14-year-old freshman when she was stopped outside Talent Unlimited High School in 2001 by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s female recruiters. The school is located just a few blocks from Epstein’s mansion.
“She was definitely trying to get to know me,” Araoz said, adding that the woman was trying to get personal details about Araoz. The woman, who Araoz described as a brunette in her early twenties, kept showing up at her school and would offer to take her out to lunch or buy her a soda.
The first time the woman mentioned Jeffrey Epstein, Araoz recalled she said, “he was just a great guy.” “She’s saying, like, he’s helped me. You know…I’ve struggled,” Araoz recalled the recruiter saying, adding that the woman tried to show that she and Araoz came from similar backgrounds. Looking back on the incident, Araoz said she is “100%” sure the woman was acting as Epstein’s recruiter.
Araoz, who had dreams of becoming a Broadway actress, said the woman told her Epstein could open doors and help her career. “That was a big part of it,” Araoz said. Epstein, who’d learned that Araoz’s father had died from AIDS a few years earlier, also told the teen he would make donations to AIDS charities.
When Araoz and Epstein met at his mansion she described him as being “very nice.” He told the young girl he’d heard a lot about her. She was served wine in his kitchen, given $300 when she left and was frequently invited back by his secretary. “Are you free? Can you come by? Epstein would like to see you,” she would ask the young girl.
2. Araoz Said Epstein Bathed with Prosthetic Breasts
As Araoz spent more time at the house, she learned more about his bizarre sexual preferences. Araoz recalled that Epstein had sexually suggestive art throughout the mansion and that he had an open bathtub where “there was prosthetic breasts he could play with while he was taking a bath, I guess. It was very odd.
Araoz said there was a massage table with a painting of a beautiful nude woman next to it. “He used to always say I look like her,” she remembered.
3. Araoz Was Asked to Perform Sexual Services in Epstein’s Massage Room
According to Araoz, after a few weeks of visiting with Epstein, she was taken to the massage room, what he described as his “favorite room” in the mansion. In the massage room, Araoz said she would give Epstein massages while dressed only in her underwear. “That’s how he liked it,” she said. He said that he liked women with small breasts because they “were natural and real.”
“He would potentially later on turn over and play with himself and he would also like when I would play with his nipples. He used to get turned on by that…and then he would finish himself off and that would be the end of it,” she said.
Araoz said that afterward, Epstein’s secretary would give her $300 or there would be $300 left in a drawer in the massage room. The young woman said she was at Epstein’s mansion at least once or twice a week.
She said both the recruiter and Epstein were aware that she was only 14 years old. “He knew very well my age,” she said.
4. Araoz Says Epstein Raped Her in 2002
At the age of 15, Araoz said she and Epstein were in his massage room when he told her to take her underwear off. “I just did what he told me to do. I was really scared.” Araoz revealed he held her down on the massage table and raped her. Araoz recalled being “terrified,” and, “told him to stop.”
“He forcefully raped me. He knew exactly what he was doing,” she said.
For many years, Araoz believed the rape was her fault and that she was obligated to Epstein. “That’s just what you’re supposed to do,” she said, tearfully. She said that Epstein would tell her he loved her and “cared about her.”
5. Araoz Never Returned to Epstein’s Home after the Attack
Araoz said that after she never returned to Epstein’s home after the sexual assault. She stopped going and would not respond to calls from Epstein’s secretary.
Araoz said she dropped out of high school so that she wouldn’t have to walk by his home.
She regrets not telling authorities about her experiences earlier. “Maybe he wouldn’t have done it to other girls,” she said, adding, “I was too scared, I didn’t want to go public with it.”