Political Cartoons: New Jeffrey Epstein accuser steps forward

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Jennifer Araoz, an alleged victim of Epstein, says he raped her when she was 15

Michael Ramirez

Jennifer Araoz told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview aired Wednesday that billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 15 years old.

Araoz said she started going to Epstein’s Manhattan home when she was 14, and gave him massages dressed only in her underwear. The encounters began after a woman Araoz called a “recruiter” talked to her outside her school in meetings that spanned over a year.

Epstein was indicted Monday for allegedly running a trafficking enterprise between 2002 and 2005 in which he paid hundreds of dollars in cash to girls as young as 14 to have sex with him at his Upper East Side home and his estate in Palm Beach. He was arrested Saturday night. Later that evening, federal agents executing a search warrant of Epstein’s mansion in New York City seized a “vast trove” of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls, prosecutors said in a court filing.

He is charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted of both counts. Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges. His 2008 deal with federal prosecutors came under intense scrutiny last November in a Miami Herald investigation that examined how it was handled by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who now serves as labor secretary in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

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