- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2019

Following billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s latest arrest, a new accuser has come forward saying she was “groomed” to be with Mr. Epstein through what she considered a “well thought out” process.

Jennifer Araoz, who claims she was raped by Mr. Epstein when she was 15 years old, told NBC News’ “The Today Show” in an interview released on Friday that she was an ideal target because her father’s death at the time left her feeling vulnerable.

“I was a pretty happy child, but I had some pains growing up because my father had passed when I was 12 years old, so that definitely took an effect on me as a kid,” she said.

Ms. Araoz said the woman who recruited her “was saying [Mr. Epstein is] very powerful, he’s very wealthy, he’s a great guy. He’s, like, almost like a fatherly figure to her, which had meaning for me at that time because I was maybe longing for that, which I was. So I just eventually trusted her.”

“It was [a process]. It wasn’t an overnight thing, and that’s why I feel like it was really well thought out, well planned to really make me feel as comfortable as possible to almost keep me coming back. I didn’t really think her and him would conspire to have me go there to do such weird things that ended up happening,” she said.

When asked whether the people around Mr. Epstein knew about his alleged treatment of her and whether she wants those people held responsible, she said, “When it comes down to it, yes, there’s a lot of people that you could point fingers and blame, you know? But I’m not blaming anybody. I’m sure they knew though. That’s more on their conscience.”

Mr. Epstein was arrested last weekend and has pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking and conspiracy.

His attorneys have offered to put up $77 million as well as a private jet as bail so he can wait for his child sex trafficking trial at his Upper East Side townhouse.


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