Epstein accuser says his alleged accomplice told her: "There's so many ways to die"

CBSNews

Maria Farmer, who has accused Jeffrey Epstein and his friend Ghislaine Maxwell of assaulting her in 1996, said Maxwell threatened her life after the assault. In her first TV interview, Farmer spoke to "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason about working for Epstein, how the FBI "failed" her and what she's doing to heal.

Farmer, who was a young artist when she met Epstein and Maxwell at an art show in New York City in 1995, wasn't able to paint for more than 20 years, since the alleged assault.

"That's what Ghislaine and Jeffrey did. They took away the thing I was supposed to do. And they did that to everybody," Farmer said.

This month, she started drawing the alleged victims of Epstein. She has sketched seven so far, including her younger sister, Annie, who also has accused Epstein of sexually assaulting her. 

"I want people to know these women are strong and they're still standing," she said. "I tried for a very long time to just not think about them. And then I decided I can't ignore it anymore, I'm going to draw them, I'm going to paint them, I'm going to glorify them."  Epstein had bought one of Farmer's paintings the night they met and eventually offered her a job. The 26-year old soon found herself working the front desk in his palatial New York City townhouse. 

"Did you see young women coming into the house?" Mason asked.

"Yes, I saw many, many, many, many, many," she said. "All day long. I saw Ghislaine going to get the women. She went to places like Central Park. I was with her a couple of times in the car … She would say ,'Stop the car.' And she would dash out and get a child."

"What did she say she was doing when she did this?" Mason asked.

"Getting Victoria's Secret models," Farmer said. Farmer found Epstein's behavior mysterious. "One day I said to Jeffrey, 'What goes on in this house?' Like, 'Why are you always upstairs?' And he said, 'I'll show you.' And so he took me up there in the elevator. And we went — he showed me all of Ghislaine's quarters."

"She had her own suite in the house?" Mason asked.

"Oh, she had a whole floor," Farmer said.

Farmer said Epstein ultimately led her to his bathroom. "And there was a marble, like, altar thing over here, and he said that's where he gets his massages," Farmer said. Epstein told her the whole house was wired with pinhole cameras and took her into the media room where they were monitored. "I looked on the cameras, and I saw toilet, toilet, bed, bed, toilet, bed. I'm like 'I am never going to use the restroom here, and I'm never going to sleep here,'" she said.

"Was there videotape?" Mason asked.

"Oh yeah, it was all video-ed, all the time. And I asked him one time, 'What do you do with this?' And he said, 'I keep it. I keep everything in my safe,'" Farmer said. In the summer of 1996, Farmer said Epstein sent her to be "an artist in residence" on the vast estate of Les Wexner, the CEO of L Brands, which owns "Victoria's Secret."   

"How would you describe Epstein's relationship with Wexner?" Mason asked.

"Epstein told me what their relationship was. He said Wexner would do anything for him. He bragged about it," Farmer said. The estate, she said, was heavily guarded by armed security and dogs. She stayed in what she was told was the guest house. 

"Did you ever see him?" Mason asked.

"No. I called Wexner 'The Wizard of Oz.' He was the one behind the curtain that had all the power," Farmer said. Farmer alleges in her complaint that Maxwell and Epstein sexually assaulted her there. 

"How were you doing at that moment?" Mason asked.

"Oh, I was hysterical," Farmer said.

Farmer alleges in her complaint that when she tried to flee the following day, she wasn't allowed to leave. She claims a member of Wexner's staff warned her.

"His exact words were: 'You're not going anywhere. You are never leaving. You are never leaving,'" she said. She escaped only after calling her father for help, she said.

In a statement, the Wexners said they "had no knowledge" of Farmer and "never met her, never spoke with her." And the guest house where Farmer said she stayed was not a "Wexner guest house," they said. 

Farmer alleges Maxwell threatened to destroy her reputation in the art world and in one phone call, she believes, threatened her life.

"She says, 'You're going out to jog on the West Side Highway every day, and I know this. You need to be very careful because there's so many ways to die there. So you have to be really careful. Look over your shoulder,'" Farmer said.

Farmer reported the assault to the FBI, but it wasn't for another decade, just before Epstein's first arrest in 2006, that an agent finally appeared at her door, she said. And they never followed up. 

"They still haven't asked to talk to me. They are trying to pretend I do not exist," she said. "I want my report and I want it printed out so I can show everyone how much they failed. I don't know if I'll ever get it. We've been requesting it forever." "Is this getting any easier at all for you?" Mason asked.

"This is not getting any easier right now. I believe it will get easier once I do the paintings. I think that's going to be my therapy," Farmer said. Farmer, who is suing the Epstein estate, is still waiting for justice. But, in painting her fellow survivors, she has found her art again.

"Because I'm healing myself through this process. No one's going to do it for me," Farmer said.

"So those paintings mean a lot to you," Mason said.

"They do. These women mean a lot to me," she said.

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