Jennifer Araoz, now 32, told NBC’s Today show on Wednesday morning that she was first approached in 2001 by a recruiter who brought her to Epstein’s home on the Upper East Side promising that he could help with her career. Once there, she said she was initially treated well, given wine and a tour of the house before being handed $300.
She said she was invited back on several occasions, each time being given an envelope containing the same amount of money, usually by Epstein’s secretary.
Araoz said Epstein showed her his massage room—where erotic paintings hung around the massage table—which he said was his favorite room in the house. He asked her to dress only in her underwear and massage him.
Soon the meetups would include more and more sexually explicit requests. She said the hedge-fund investor would make her massage his nipples or he would masturbate in front of her.
Eventually, in fall of 2002, when she had turned 15, Araoz said Epstein grabbed her during one of the massages and forced her to have sex with him.
“He raped me, forcefully raped me,” Araoz told NBC News. “I was terrified, and I was telling him to stop. ‘Please stop.’”
Epstein was arrested over the weekend and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy. He stands accused of setting up a network of underage girls whom he paid to carry out massages and sex acts. He is also accused of paying his victims to recruit more young people.
Araoz said she had told the recruiter that she was just 14-years-old and says she mentioned her age in Epstein's presence. “He knew exactly who he was hanging out with,” she said. “I don't think he cared.”
Araoz said she didn’t contact the authorities because she felt that it was her own fault. She said she suffered terrible anxiety and panic attacks in the months after the alleged rape; culminating in her dropping out of school.
“I kind of hated myself for it,” Araoz told NBC. “I was like, ‘I'm stupid, I should have known better. I'm a bad kid.’ … I basically just tried to forget about it and live my life.”
She is now a make up artist living in Queens.