More than two dozen victims of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, through tears and lingering trauma, denounced their twisted tormentor as a coward Tuesday while urging prosecutors to arrest his partners in perversion.
“Please, please, finish what you started,” pleaded victim Sarah Ransome at an unusual Manhattan Federal Court hearing. “We all know he did not act alone.”
Ransom was one of 17 Epstein victims to stand and speak, while eight other women had statements read by their attorneys at a court session where prosecutors were expected to officially drop their charges against the demented multi-millionaire just 17 days after his jailhouse suicide.
But U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman, after hearing calls from victims and Epstein’s legal team for an independent probe of the death, declined to sign off on the prosecution request.
Eight of the victims were identified simply as Jane Does when they addressed the lasting damage inflicted by Epstein as he pursued underage girls for his deviant sexual needs.
“I met Jeffrey Epstein at a very vulnerable place in my life,” recalled Jane Doe 4. “Whatever the outcome with everything, we the victims will always carrying irreparable pain over this … He took away the future I envisioned for myself.”
Several of the women mentioned Epstein’s alleged recruiter Ghislaine Maxwell as a target for further investigation, with Ransome describing her as an integral part of the sex trafficking ring. Victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre echoed the call for an ongoing probe.
“Jeffrey Epstein is no longer alive, but this is not about how he died,” said Roberts Giuffre. “It’s about how he lived. The reckoning must not end. It must continue. He did not act alone.”
Epstein was accused of bringing the vulnerable young girls to his pricey homes on the Upper East Side and in Palm Beach, Fla.
Tears flowed during the emotional court session, with Jane Doe 5 so overwrought that she was hard to understand at times.
“You used your money to get out of paying the price for your actions,” the woman said as if speaking directly to multi-millionaire Epstein. “I think you should have been in jail for several years. Money should not let you buy your way free. A crime is a crime, and a victim is a victim.”
The woman identified only as Jane Doe 1 fought back tears as she echoed the call for a continued probe into the late Epstein, who died shortly after he was found with a bedsheet around his neck in the early morning hours of Aug. 10.
“As much of a villain (as) we have created him to be, based on facts, an investigation is the right thing to do,” the woman said.
The Epstein victim recalled the sick feeling that accompanied word of his suicide. “It felt like a whole new trauma again, and I don’t know why,” said Jane Doe 1.
Attorneys for Epstein joined in the call for an investigation into his self-imposed death sentence, while accuser Courtney Wild said Epstein’s suicide was just another example of how the wealthy sex fiend played the system to his advantage.
“Jeffrey Epstein has done nothing but (cheat) our justice system, robbing myself and others of our day in court,” she said. “And for that, he is a coward. I feel very angry and sad. Justice has never been served in this case.”
Attorney Brad Edwards, representing 15 Epstein victims in court Tuesday, echoed Wild’s comments about the defendant’s suicide.
“The timing is curious to us,” said Edwards. “But more so, it makes it absolutely impossible for the victims to ever get the day in court they wanted. To get full justice — that can never happen.”
The hearing marked the first opportunity for many of the victims to speak publicly about the lenient plea bargain deal cut by Epstein with federal prosecutors in Florida.
Epstein, 66, committed suicide inside his Manhattan federal prison cell just two days after signing off on a will that valued his estate at $577 million — including more than $56 million in cash.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey promised the case against Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators and possible civil forfeiture of his massive assets did not die with the accused sexual predator.
“This dismissal in no way lessens the government’s resolve to stand up for the victims in this case,” she said.
Two federal investigations were launched to determine how Epstein was able to take his own life in the Special Housing Unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.
(c)2019 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.