A year ago disgraced financier and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein was found hanged in his jail cell. Lifetime (DStv channel 131) reveals the horrifying truth of his three-decade reign of abuse, through the eyes of the survivors: some of whom are speaking here for the first time.
The four-hour documentary series, Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, premieres tonight (September 7) at 8.05pm and divulges the full extent of the international sex trafficking network devised by the reclusive billionaire to feed his sexual cravings.
In addition, it reveals how he used his connections with the rich and powerful to evade detection and prosecution.
Airing over two weeks on Monday September 7 and Monday September 14, from 8.05pm to 9.55pm, the series provides a platform for the courageous survivors of Epstein’s systematic abuse to share their stories as we gain unparalleled insight into one of the most talked about and widespread abuse scandals in history.
With testimonies from attorneys on both sides of the case, psychologists and expert journalists offering a comprehensive view of the case of Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged global human trafficking network for the rich and powerful.
On her first encounter with Epstein, survivor Courtney Wild said: “When you drive over the bridge to go on Palm Beach Island you can just like feel the money and power. I was brought to his house. It’s like the end of the street, the last house. Everything is like super secluded and super private. It’s a beautiful mansion and there’s his chef and his secretary and these gorgeous women, barefoot models and here I am 14. And I remember thinking why they want me.”
Wild also detailed the aftermath of Epstein’s assault: “It quickly transitions to him molesting me and me going along with it, because I just went along with it. I remember walking down the staircase after and I’m given the $200 and I am like so upset and disgusted and just feeling like how did this just happen?
“I was like I will never come back here ever again and then you know after a week went by I kind of downplayed the situation to myself and maybe it wasn’t so bad and I could go back because I do need more money and it was just a ... it was just a sick cycle.
“He groomed me to be exactly what he wanted me to be. A personal sex slave that brought him underage girls.”
Prince Andrew accuser and survivor Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who was an aspiring young masseuse at the time, also discussed the first time she massaged [Alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell] and Epstein: “The massage seemed legit at first. Ghislaine grabbed one foot, I grabbed the other and she said you always want to keep one hand on the body when you are massaging somebody, and then he turns over and the entire thing changed. They said take off your clothes. I had these little girl undies on, like hearts on them, I remembered, and they were laughing at that because they liked that. The younger you look the better it is.
“So I stripped down, Ghislaine stripped down, it turned very sexual. It was abuse straight away, from both of them. Stuff I had already known because I had been abused before and it felt just like that. My new happy brain just shut off and this old survival brain came back in.”
As the documentary progresses into part two, we hear how Epstein replicated his assaults at a number of his properties.
Upon interviewing to be a personal masseuse, survivor Teresa Helm recounts what Maxwell said to her before meeting Epstein at his New York residence: “Make sure you give Jeffrey what he wants. Jeffrey always gets what he wants.”
With Epstein’s behaviour continuing unchecked for years, Giuffre offered explosive insight into the exploitative operation Epstein had created. “He literally ate, slept, fucked. That’s all he did. Abuse. It was a revolving door of girls coming through.”
Epstein’s crimes weren’t just committed on the east coast, his sprawling compound in New Mexico was also the location of many assaults on young girls that were lured to his property, made possible by the vast donations he made to political figures in the state.
Stephanie Garcia, current New Mexico Land Commissioner said: “To know that people [in office] looked the other way and allowed it to continue is devastating to me.”
Survivor Rachel Benavidez, another aspiring masseuse, revealed shocking details of the first time she massaged Epstein.
“He was very intimidating to me. I tried to be as professional as I could. I asked him if he had any outstanding areas that he wanted me to work on. He said ‘well, massage my feet’, and then started asking me ‘Oh can you do my psoas muscle’ which is close to the groin. Before I really had a chance to think about it he proceeded to pleasure himself and before I knew it, he had already released himself.”
Episodes three and four focus on Epstein’s private island and how his sex trafficking operated on a global scale, as well as the recent arrest of alleged co-conspirator Maxwell and Prince Andrew’s alleged complicity.
Giuffre commented: “With Prince Andrew, I am happy to talk about him because he abused me, he participated in a sexual trafficking operation with one of the most prolific sex trafficking operators in the world the entire time.
She went on to say, “Prince Andrew is not the prince from the fairytale stories you read, Andrew deserves to be outed, he deserves to be held accountable, he is an abuser.”
To date, Prince Andrew has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.