“I have suffered, and he has won.”

That’s how Chauntae Davies, one of the first accusers of Jeffrey Epstein to speak at a hearing Tuesday in New York, summed up her feelings about the late wealth manager who the U.S. says created an elaborate system for luring and molesting teenage girls.

The hearing was convened by a federal judge in Manhattan who’s poised to close the U.S. criminal case after Epstein died by suicide in a jail cell this month. He invited Epstein’s accusers to the court and more than a dozen appeared to air their grievances in public and on the record.

After several anonymous speakers told their stories of abuse by Epstein, Davies told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman that Epstein and his associates made her feel like a part of their family, sending her to school, giving her a job and flying her around the world.

Then, one night, a tap at the door for a massage, and an attack.

“Jeffrey’s abuse would continue for the next three years, and I allowed it to continue, because I had been taken advantage of my entire life. I was conditioned to just accept it,” Davies told the judge. “Every day since, I have suffered and he has won.”

Another woman, referred to as Jane Doe, said it was hard to explain why they didn’t run away.

“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,” she said. For each girl the answer is different, she said.

Epstein “was really strategic in how he approached each of us. Things happened really slowly over time,” she said. “You didn’t realize what was happening.”

A lawyer for another accuser, Michelle Licata, read a statement from her that thanked the judge for finally giving the victims a day in court and letting their voices be heard. She cited Epstein’s much-criticized deal more than a decade ago that allowed him to evade federal prosecution by pleading guilty to a Florida charge and serve only 13 months in prison while commuting daily to his job.

First « 1 2 » Next