Long before #MeToo became the catalyst for a women's movement about sexual assault — and a decade before the fall of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and U.S. Olympic gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar — there was Jeffrey Edward Epstein.
Multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of teen girls. Their stories were dismissed by prosecutors, who cut Epstein a lenient deal. His victims have never had a voice, until now.
Epstein could have spent life in prison, but he only served a little more than a year in jail. Why? A secret deal was struck — an extraordinary plea arrangement — with help from future Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta.
"I don't think anyone has been told the truth about what Jeffrey Epstein did," said Michelle Licata, now 30. "He ruined my life and a lot of girls' lives. People need to know what he did and why he wasn't prosecuted so it never happens again."
Documents show Acosta, then a federal prosecutor, didn't just buckle under pressure from Epstein's lawyers; he and other prosecutors worked *with* them to contain the case — even as the FBI was uncovering evidence of a wider sex trafficking operation.
One victim, Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein, is suing the federal government, alleging that prosecutors kept victims in the dark as part of a conspiracy to give Epstein one of the most lenient deals for a serial child sex abuser in history.
What he did, according to interviews with victims and police, was lure girls, aged 13 to 16, to his mansion for a "massage." He would molest them, paying extra for oral sex and intercourse, and offering more money to bring him new girls, like an underage sex pyramid scheme.