Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers finally had their day in court Tuesday, but not in the way they had hoped for.
Parties to the case appeared in court Tuesday for a hearing on the prosecution’s motion to dismiss the charges against him. But Judge Richard Berman turned what could have been a perfunctory hearing into a venue for the women to share what was on their minds.
Some women had been robbed of the chance for justice years ago, when Florida prosecutors offered Epstein a plea deal without their input.
The case in New York had nearly restored their hope, they said. Then, Epstein’s death by suicide left them shattered, once again.
But no longer would he rob them of their voices, they said.
Some called on prosecutors to pursue charges against those implicated in Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring. Others made public for the first time heartbreaking accounts of being coaxed into Epstein’s grip with promises of fame, only to experience rape and other forms of physical and emotional abuse.
Here are edited excerpts from some of the victims’ statements:
Courtney Wild: He is a coward
Jeffrey Epstein robbed myself and all the other victims of our day in court to confront him one by one, and for that he is a coward.
I want to thank the US Attorneys for seeking justice that has been long overdue, and most importantly, given us, the victims, our day in court to speak our peace and find some sort of closure. I feel very angry and sad that justice has never been served in this case.
Jane Doe No. 2: We didn’t have anyone on our side
A lot of people asked why we spent so much time, why we stayed. It’s an experience that’s really hard to explain to people who haven’t gone through it.
Things happened slowly over time. We didn’t – it almost was like, putting it like that analogy of a frog being in a pan of water and slowly turning the flame up. You didn’t realize it was happening, and it just – I don’t think anyone can fully understand the experience, but I just – the blame feels very strong.
It wasn’t a situation where we were trying to extort money from someone. A lot of us were in very vulnerable situations and in extreme poverty, circumstances where we didn’t have anyone on our side, to speak on our behalf, and that’s really scary.
You start to blame yourself because, at first, you don’t tell anyone what’s happening, and it becomes your deep, dark secret that you tried to keep from everyone. And I didn’t even know I was a victim until I spoke with my lawyers. I had no idea.
I had so much self-hatred and doubt and just guilt for everything. I still do. I still don’t feel like I deserve to say I’m a victim, and I think that’s a big problem with our society right now, that people are still blaming victims, and I think that does need to change.
Jane Doe No. 3: I’m just angry that he’s not alive
An introduction was made at his New York home, and it is there that I was sexually assaulted.
I left and my world kind of spiraled after that. I stopped going on modeling castings. I gained weight. I became depressed. I stopped going out with my friends, and only five months after I had been in New York City to pursue my dream, I left. I left the modeling industry, and I left New York City, and I totally switched my career paths.
I buried this deep within me, and all of the new occurrences that have come up in the media is what brought it back up for me. And I feel sickened and saddened that it took so many years, and God knows how many victims, for this to finally come out, but I’m thankful it did. And I’m just angry that he’s not alive anymore to have to pay the price for his actions.
Jane Doe No. 4: Many of us will never fully heal
I met Jeffrey Epstein at a very vulnerable place in my life, and whatever the outcome is with everything, I just wanted to express that we, the victims, we will always carry irreparable damage and pain throughout our lives after this.
Whoever we marry in our life, whatever future we have in our life, it’s always going to be something that’s always there for us.
He took away the chance I had at having the future I had envisioned for myself as a young girl, and I think many of us here today will never fully heal from that pain and the heartache that we’ll continue carrying with us.
Chauntae Davies: He is still winning in death
It took me a long time to come forward, too long maybe… and all that it took to bring this man to justice has been robbed by his death.
Every day, every week I’ve spent in the hospital since, I’ve suffered and he has won. Every job offer that’s been offered to me and then retracted because of my connection to this case, I have suffered and he has won. Every public humiliation I have endured, I have suffered and he has won. Every relationship that I’ve had to end because of the abuse that I have endured by the hands of this man, I have suffered and he has won.
Every woman sitting in this room today, and all of the women who have yet come forward and who have not yet to come forward and whose lives have been affected by Jeffrey Epstein’s sick abuse of young girls, we have all suffered, and he is still winning in death.
I refuse to let this man win in death. I couldn’t fight back when Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused me because I hadn’t yet found my voice. Well, I have found my voice now, and while Jeffrey may no longer be here to hear it, I will not stop fighting, and I will not be silenced anymore.
Anouska De Georgiou: I will not remain a victim
When I was introduced to Jeffrey Epstein, I was young and full of hope and the foolishness of a teenager. I was idealistic, and I saw the good in people. Jeffrey Epstein manipulated me, coerced me and sexually abused me.
Something I think is very important to communicate is that loss of innocence, trust and joy is not recoverable. The abuse, spanning several years, was devaluing beyond measure and affected my ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, both in my work and my personal life.
I was a victim, and it has taken me many, many years to stand here and say, yes, it was me. I was a victim, but I will not remain a victim and be silent for one more day.
Brittany Henderson: I was treated like I did not matter
What happened to me occurred many years ago when I was in high school, but it still affects my life.
I was told then that Jeffrey Epstein was going to be held accountable, but he was not. In fact, the government worked out a secret deal and didn’t tell me about it. The case ended without me knowing what was going on, without him being held responsible, without any explanation and without a chance for my voice to be heard. I was treated like I did not matter.
I was allowed to be a part of the process this time.
Thank you for inviting me. It means more to me than you can ever know.
The fact that I mattered this time and the other victims mattered is what counts. For that, I am grateful.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre: This is about how he lived
Jeffrey Epstein is no longer alive, but this is not about how he die