Jeffrey Epstein's Friendship With Victoria's Secret Chief Offered Access to Young Women (Report)
An accuser told the New York Times that the money manager, charged with sex trafficking of underage girls, assaulted her while posing as a talent scout for the lingerie brand in 1997.
Jeffrey Epstein's longtime friendship and business relationship with L Brands CEO Leslie H. Wexner, the mogul behind Victoria's Secret and The Limited, provided him with access to young women, according to a new New York Times investigation.
In the story, published Thursday, a new Epstein accuser comes forward alleging that, as Wexner's confidante and private investment adviser since the 1980s, Epstein posed as a Victoria's Secret recruiter and assaulted her during an "audition." Her accusation follows that of another woman who filed a claim in federal court that Epstein assaulted her while she was working on an art project at Wexner's Ohio mansion in 1996.
The latest Epstein accuser, model and actress Alicia Arden, says that in May of 1997 Epstein, posting as a Victoria's Secret talent scout, invited her to an audition in a Santa Monica hotel. While there, he asked her to undress, tried to help her do so and told her, "Let me manhandle you for a second" before forcibly groping her, according to a police report resurfaced by the Times. "His weapons were his hands," she told the paper.
Arden says left the interview crying and went to the police station the next day, but didn't file a report until the following week.
Two "senior executives" at L Brands interviewed by the Times under conditions of anonymity said that they had learned in the mid-1990s that Epstein had been posing as a talent agent for the lingerie brand. When confronted with this information, Wexner told the executives he would handle the situation.
The alleged incident occurred less than a year after another woman, Maria Farmer, claims that Epstein assaulted her at Wexner's mansion while she was completing an art project.
“While Mr. Epstein served as Mr. Wexner’s personal money manager for a period that ended nearly 12 years ago, we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company,” Tammy Roberts Myers, an L Brands spokesperson, told the Times in a statement. She added that L Brands had recently hired a lawyer to conduct a review of the relationship.
Wexner, for his part, declined an interview with the Times but wrote in an email to employees that he was “NEVER aware of the illegal activity charged in the indictment,” adding, “I would never have guessed that a person I employed more than a decade ago could have caused such pain to so many people,” he wrote.
Epstein, who is currently being held in a Manhattan prison awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking of underage girls, first met Wexner in the 1980s, when Epstein worked for Bear Stearns, through a mutual friend, insurance executive Robert Meister. Not long after, Epstein began working for Wexner as a financial adviser and money manager. He also oversaw the construction and design of Wexner's yacht, Limitless. By 1991, Wexner granted Epstein power of attorney, granting him the right to handle his estates, move his money, sign documents and pay debts on his behalf, among other powers. In 1998, Epstein acquired Wexner's New York City mansion on East 71st St.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty, and his trial date has yet to be set.