Aspiring Victoria's Secret Models Were Allegedly Preyed Upon by Jeffrey Epstein
Epstein reportedly pitched himself as a recruiter for the brand.
Multimillionaire and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was recently charged with sex trafficking dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005, is now being accused of leveraging his relationship with Leslie Wexner, the CEO of L Brands (Victoria's Secret's parent company), to abuse an aspiring Victoria's Secret model, according to a new report from the New York Times published Thursday.
According to the Times, by the mid '90s Esptein was mysteriously handed "sweeping powers over [Wexner's] finances, philanthropy and private life," and he used this relationship with the CEO to gain access to young women, calling himself a recruiter for Victoria's Secret. In 1997, model Alicia Arden alleges that Epstein sexually assaulted her in Santa Monica after inviting her to audition for the Victoria's Secret catalog.
“His weapons were his hands," said Arden, who filed a police report about a week after the incident. Around that time, Wexner was apparently alerted that Epstein was pitching himself as a Victoria's Secret recruiter, according to two senior executives.
A spokesperson for L Brands told the Times in a statement: “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." The Washington Postalso reported on Thursday that L Brands has hired outside counsel to review Epstein's relationship with the company.
In a letter to employees following the most recent charges against Epstein, Wexner denied having knowledge of the illegal activity charged in the indictment against his former advisor.
Per the Times report, Epstein's relationship with Wexner was always something of a mystery to Wexner's colleagues, especially given that Epstein's resumé was relatively thin when he first began working with him in a financial capacity. In the first decade of their friendship, Epstein had accumulated nearly $100 million in assets that had once belonged to Wexner or L Brands, including a New York mansion, a private plane, and a luxury estate in Ohio.
Wexner says he cut ties with the businessman 12 years ago; however in the years prior, Wexner once referred to him as "a loyal friend" with "unusually high standards."