Early Epstein accuser: Police could have stopped him in 1997


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — More than two decades before Jeffrey Epstein took his own life, a woman went into a California police station and filed one of the earliest sex-crime complaints against him: that he groped her during what she thought was a modeling interview for the Victoria’s Secret catalog.

Alicia Arden said she never heard back from investigators about her complaint. No charges ever came of it. And to this day she sees it as a glaring missed opportunity to bring the financier to justice long before he was accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls and women.

“If they would have taken me more seriously than they did, it could have helped all these girls,” said Arden, an actress and model. “It could have been stopped.”

With recent scrutiny focused on Epstein’s life , wealth and connections to powerful people , his early brush with the law has been something of a mystery. After Arden’s 1997 complaint to Santa Monica police first came to light several years ago, the department said little about it and Epstein’s lawyers said only that police discounted her allegations.

In response to Associated Press inquiries and a public records request, Santa Monica police agreed last week to summarize parts of the detective’s notes to a reporter. The notes showed that Epstein was questioned soon after Arden’s complaint and gave a conflicting statement. Most notably, the detective wrote that Arden did not want to press charges against Epstein but wanted him warned about his behavior, an assertion that she strongly denies.

In a follow-up statement, police spokeswoman Lt. Candice Cobarrubias declined to say anything more about how Epstein’s account differed from Arden’s and stressed that the case was closed because the victim was not “desirous of prosecution.” – READ MORE

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