In addition to questions about how the American multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of child abuse, was killed and what mistakes were made by the prison where he was imprisoned, much attention is paid to his alleged victims. Can they still get justice?
The royal road to legal redress is closed: the criminal case against Epstein will soon be stopped. A deceased person cannot be prosecuted. There is no longer a confrontation in the courtroom. For some women who accuse him, that was precisely the main reason for telling their story.
In a statement, part of the two thousand pages of sealed documents about the asset manager that were recently released by a judge, a victim tells how Epstein described his claim that he came at least three times a day as a necessity, as "organic, just like food" .
Search for accomplices
Feeding Epstein's libido required a well-oiled machine, witnesses say. Vulnerable teenage girls - some of whom were only thirteen years old - were not only recruited by peers. Adult employees and acquaintances of Epstein would also have brought girls to him.
The authorities' attention is now focused on figures such as Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and an ex-girlfriend of Epstein, who continued to work for him after their relationship ended. She acted as his "harlot madam" and participated in the abuse several times, victims say.
In addition, the question arises as to how many people noticed the relentless flow of minors, knew what the multimillionaire was doing to them, and yet remained silent or even actively held a hand over him.
Shortly after Epstein was found with a broken neck in his cell in Manhattan, US Justice Minister William Barr warned potential accomplices in the massive abuse case that he and his ministry will not let it go.
Witnesses describe a relentless stream of underage girls who visited the $ 77 million home of Epstein in Manhattan. The multi-millionaire demanded at least three orgasms daily. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Ongoing investigations into sex network
There are various investigations into possible other parties involved. As part of an FBI investigation, Epstein's private island in the Caribbean was searched. And the French authorities are investigating whether there was abuse at his home in Paris.
The possible involvement of some influential friends of Epstein is also being investigated. For example, Virginia Giuffre, one of the women who came forward, claims that she had sex on Epstein's orders with, among others, British prince Andrew, Bill Richardson, a former governor of the state of New Mexico, former senator George Mitchell and the billionaire Glen Dubin. All the men mentioned by Giuffre have denied this.
"They robbed me of my youth, my identity, my innocence and my self-worth." Jennifer Araoz about Epstein and his henchmen
Trying possible accomplices is not that simple yet
Legal experts warn that it will probably be difficult to try employees of the dead multi-millionaire. For example, prosecutors will not only have to prove that someone like Maxwell recruited young girls for Epstein, but also that there can be no reasonable doubt that she knew that the girls were minors and that he would have sex with them.
Without hard evidence, removing a reasonable doubt from a jury is a much more difficult task than with. If such evidence had been found against Maxwell or other Epstein employees, they would most likely have been arrested.
If Epstein had been tried, he could have turned against his accomplices in exchange for a reduction in sentences or other concessions. On the other hand, justice could have made deals with its employees, so that they could testify against their employer. Perhaps new directions about potential accomplices had rolled out of the handling of the case.
See also: Who is who in the multi-millionaire Epstein abuse scandal?
Civil lawsuits are another option
Civil law still offers alleged victims of Epstein clues.
Last Wednesday a new law came into force in the state of New York, the Child Victims Act. This law allows (now adult) victims to sue their abusers or institutions that held offenders, regardless of how long the abuse was suffered. That is possible for a year. After that period, in old abuse cases, the rule applies that victims are allowed to bring legal proceedings up to the age of 55.
The first of the many anticipated cases against Epstein are now there: right after the entry into force of the law, 32-year-old Jennifer Araoz from New York sued Epsteins and some of his assistants in court. Two other victims did the same on Friday.
Araoz says he was lured to the home of the multi-millionaire at the age of fourteen or fifteen. Epstein gave her money for 'massage sessions' and promised to help her start a singing or acting career. What followed were months of abuse that culminated in a brutal rape.
If the judge decides that the Epstein heirs are indeed liable, this will probably result in compensation for the victims. In July, during the handling of Epstein's request to be released on bail, his lawyers estimated his assets at around $ 560 million.
Possible henchmen also get damage claims on their pants
The heirs of Epstein are not the only party in sight of Araoz. Ghislaine Maxwell was, according to New York, largely responsible for facilitating the sex network, although she never met her.
Araoz also wants satisfaction from three other female multi-millionaire employees, who are not mentioned by name in the first court documents.
"Today I am taking the first step in regaining the power that Jeffrey Epstein and his accomplices have stolen from me," she told journalists on Wednesday about the trial she initiated. "They robbed me of my youth, my identity, my innocence and my self-worth."
See also: Minister: Investigation into irregularities concerning suicide Epstein