Live

Watch CBSN Live

Accusers speak out after Jeffrey Epstein charged and jailed on sex trafficking charges

Jeffrey Epstein charged with sex trafficking

Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged Monday with sexually abusing dozens of underage girls more than a decade after he secretly cut a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid nearly identical allegations. Now some of his alleged victims are speaking out.

Sarah Ransome claimed she was recruited and trafficked for sex by Epstein in 2006 and 2007, the Miami Herald reported.  On Monday, Ransome said she's encouraged Epstein has been charged in New York.

"The news of my abuser's arrest today is a step in the right direction to finally hold Epstein accountable for his crimes and restore my faith that power and money can't triumph over justice," Ransome said.

Virginia Giuffre claimed that Epstein forced her to have sex with his attorney, Alan Dershowitz, and others beginning when she was 16. Giuffre, who is suing Dershowitz for defamation, praised federal prosecutors in New York for showing the case is "being taken in a serious way."

In an interview with the Miami Herald for their investigation into dozens of allegations against Epstein, Giuffre said, "You know, before you  know it, I'm being lent out to politicians and to academics and to people that — royalty and people that you just, you would never think 'How did you get into that position of power in the first place?'"

courtney-wild-ap-19189744296256.jpg
Alleged victims Michelle Licata (grey sweater) and Courtney Wild (white blouse) are seen leaving New York Federal Court after U.S. government persues new charges of sex-trafficking against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, New York, NY, July 8, 2019.  AP

Two other accusers said they feel empowered after Epstein was charged. Michelle Licata told ABC's "Good Morning America" she was crying when she saw the wealthy financier appear in a federal court in Manhattan.

Licata and another accuser, Courtney Wild, were seated in the courtroom during the hearing. Wild, who called the charges "overwhelmingly past due," said she has been pursuing justice against Epstein for years. She filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in 2008. The suit is seeking to make the details of Epstein's secret plea deal public.

Attorney David Boies, who represents three of Epstein's alleged victims, said the accusers "hope that Mr. Epstein and people who worked with him and enabled him are finally brought to justice, and this looks like an important first step in having that happen."

The 66-year-old Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday in his first court appearance following his weekend arrest. He was ordered to remain in jail at least until his July 15 bail hearing. CBS News correspondent Mola Lenghi reports that New York officials believe his extraordinary wealth, access to private jets, and lack of family ties make him an extreme flight risk.

Epstein's lawyers contend the charges involve allegations that arose in a Florida case more than a decade ago. Epstein struck a secret deal to avoid significant punishment in that case.

The indictment claims that Epstein knew some of the girls he allegedly preyed on were just 14 years old. In some cases, prosecutors say he used the victims to recruit more young women and grow his alleged network of sex abuse.

Over the years, Epstein's established relationships included President Trump and former President Bill Clinton, who rode Epstein's private jet in the early 2000s. Clinton's spokesman said the trips were related to work with the Clinton Foundation, adding:  "President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York."

Trump distances himself from Jeffrey Epstein after new sex trafficking charges
View CBS News In