While Jeffrey Epstein and his minions were scouring high schools and shopping malls to satisfy his pedophilic cravings in Florida, the wealthy sex-offender's recruiters in New York reportedly targeted young women at local dance studios according to the New York Times' Ali Watkins - who probably didn't have to sleep with any sources for this report (as the claims are detailed in recent court filings, and dancers don't appear to be her type).
The scope of Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking in Manhattan has become clearer as several lawsuits have been filed against his estate in the days since he was found dead from a suicide in his jail cell in Manhattan, where he had been awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
The suits say that when Mr. Epstein was luring teenagers into sexual exploitation in Florida, he was using a network of recruiters within New York City’s dance studios to procure aspiring performers into a similar scheme.
Not even a 13-month stint in jail in 2008 and 2009 stopped him, recently filed lawsuits say. While in jail, Mr. Epstein arranged for two women he had recruited in New York to be flown to Florida, where he pressured them into sex while he was on work release, the court papers said. -New York Times
One accuser, 'Lisa,' was 17 in 2002 when she was approached by a fellow ballet dancer who asked if she wanted to give a wealthy man private exercise classes. Another dancer, Priscilla, was approached in 2006 to give Epstein a massage. While a third dancer, Marlo Fisken, was asked the same year to become the financier's personal trainer.
The dance studio accusations were described in lawsuits filed last month in Manhattan Federal District Court by two women who say Epstein sexually exploited them, as well as interviews with two dancers who dealt with him in New York - who say that Epstein took advantage of the dance world's insular nature, in which job opportunities are often found through referrals between dancers.
"There’s some sort of level of trust with people through ballet studios," said 26-year-old Nadia Vostrikov - a former dancer who said an Epstein associate recruited her in 2013 for personal training. "There is that kind of inherent trust, we’re all part of the same community. You wouldn’t share that kind of unsafe opportunity with someone."
According to accuser 'Lisa,' she was recruited by a fellow dancer, and accepted the opportunity to give Epstein private exercise lessons. When she arrived at his Manhattan townhouse, however, Epstein "quizzed her on her dance aspirations, promised to buy her new point shoes and asked her to take part in several sexually charged stretching activities."
On her third encounter with Epstein, he reportedly asked for a massage - during which he assaulted her with a sex toy while masturbating, according to the complaint. He gave her $300 and the book "Massage for Dummies" afterwards in what became an eight-year cycle of abuse.
The lawsuits name as defendants Mr. Epstein’s estate and eight companies that the plaintiffs claim assisted Mr. Epstein in his sex trafficking, including by serving as fronts for procuring young women and paying associates who helped him.
The suits are among at least six complaints filed in Manhattan against Mr. Epstein’s estate and his close associates since he died by suicide on Aug. 10, all saying he forced girls and young women into sexual servitude.
One woman, Jennifer Araoz, said in a suit that she was 14 in 2001 when a woman recruited her outside her high school. She was groomed over time, she said, and was eventually pressured to give Mr. Epstein erotic massages at his townhouse.
A year later, she said, he raped her during one of those encounters. She had been an aspiring actress. -New York Times
Meanwhile, Epstein accuser 'Priscilla Doe' says she was flown from New York to Florida while he was on work release during a 13-month jail sentence for pedophilia - and had sex with her at his Palm Beach mansion while he was wearing an ankle monitor. Priscilla says she was recruited two years earlier, after being offered a job as a masseuse.
During the first two visits, Priscilla was paid for straightforward massage. After that, however, she says Epstein began sexually assaulting her with his hands and sex toys - during which he promised to advance her dancing career "if she would do what he wanted to do."
Priscilla says she flew to Epstein's private Caribbean island in 2007 and posted about the trip on social media, according to the filing. The following morning, she says a furious Epstein held her down by her wrists and threatened her safety if she ever revealed his activities again.
She says she was "in fear for her safety and her life and knew that strict compliance with the dictates of this very powerful man was required as a condition of maintaining her safety."
Another woman, identified only as Kaitlyn Doe, said in a lawsuit that she was introduced to Mr. Epstein through her sister, who was working for him. She said Mr. Epstein promised repeatedly that he would help pay $20,000 for a critical medical procedure she needed if she complied with his sexual demands. She continued to engage in sex acts with him for money until 2014. -New York Times
According to the filings, Epstein sexually abused girls until they "looked less like teenagers," at which point he would turn them into recruiters. Lisa, for example, was urged "to go to her dance studio and find other dancers."
Another accuser, dance instructor Marlo Fisken, said she was recruited to provide private lessons around 2006.
Ms. Fisken, who is now based in Boulder, Colo., and manages her own dance business, said a woman she met in a bar took interest in her dance career and said she knew a wealthy man looking for a personal trainer. Ms. Fisken, who was in her early 20s at the time and new to New York City, took the job.
When she arrived at Mr. Epstein’s townhouse, he did not want to exercise but seemed interested in bizarre stretching maneuvers. During one session, Ms. Fisken said, Mr. Epstein suggested she could massage his testicles to help with flexibility.
“He was like, ‘You know, my Russian ballet instructor, she massages my testicles because it helps my flexibility,’” Ms. Fisken recalled. “I said, ‘O.K., I can’t do that for you.’”
Fisken said she worked for Epstein for a few weeks, and was asked to give classes to two teenagers living in one of his apartments which the financier referred to as "my girls."
"It certainly wasn’t for personal training," said Fisken.