Some of the women accusing Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse say the late financier would send them to doctors who prescribed anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications, gave them birth control, and screened them for sexually transmitted diseases.
Virginia Giuffre, who was recruited to give Epstein “massages” at age 16, told the Miami Herald in a disturbing report published Saturday that she was prescribed Xanax while she lived and traveled with Epstein for several years in her teens.
“What doctor in their right mind, who is supposed to protect their patients, gives girls and young women Xanax?’’ Giuffre told the outlet.
Another accuser, Sarah Ransome, explained that she had told a doctor about being sexually abused by Epstein, but the doctor merely responded by giving her lithium.
“[W]e looked so broken,” Ransome said. “But no one did anything.’’
Both Giuffre and Ransome settled lawsuits with the financier before his death in August, when he was found dead by suicide in a federal jail cell awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. For years, prosecutors alleged, Epstein used others to recruit minor girls and young women for sex at his properties in New York, Florida, the Virgin Islands, New Mexico and elsewhere.
Epstein strongly denied the accusations. His alleged madame, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, maintains her denial. Others who were known to socialize with Epstein, including attorney Alan Dershowitz, say they never witnessed any of the alleged abuse.
A third accuser who spoke to the Herald, Marijke Chartouni, only reached out to law enforcement after hearing of Epstein’s arrest in July. She described seeing Dershowitz with Epstein at the financier’s Manhattan mansion before she was taken to a room and assaulted.
All of the women told the Herald that they believed many of the people around Epstein ― his wealthy and powerful friends, his household staff and others who provided services for him ― had to have known about the abuse, despite their many denials.
An attorney who sued the Justice Department over Epstein’s unusually lenient 2008 plea deal, Bradley Edwards, told the Herald how he believed Epstein successfully manipulated his victims, based on interviews with dozens of them. Accusers had been outraged by the deal Epstein managed to reach with federal prosecutors: He pled guilty to state-level charges and was sentenced to 13 months in a low-security jail, which he left most days on a work permit.
“[Epstein] would find out they have no home, no car, that they need a place to live, and he would provide a place to live,’’ Edwards told the Herald. “He can get you to the best doctors. Sometimes he would do that and sometimes he wouldn’t do that, but the promise was real because as soon as you walk into his house and see there are legitimate cooks, chefs, and assistants, everybody catering to him — it gives this air of legitimacy. I mean, everybody in this whole entire mansion can’t possibly be running an illegal sex trafficking operation, right?”
The financier pulled young women into his orbit, Edwards said, by giving them a taste of his vast wealth ― offering to pay for school or help with their careers. One accuser used money she received from Epstein to help her mother pay rent.
Fear was another tool used to allegedly control the girls. Ransome said she was scared of Epstein and Maxwell because they would threaten to harm her if she disobeyed them and, due to their proximity to such powerful figures in business and politics ― including presidents and royalty ― she believed they were capable of it.
While the criminal case against Epstein died with him, prosecutors are still investigating other potential co-conspirators and say they are prepared to bring charges if needed.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.