An accuser of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell has said the pair were “very hard to say no to” as she said verdicts from a New York court show the British socialite was “equally complicit” in the disgraced financier’s crimes.
Liz Stein, who was not one of those involved in the judgements handed down on Wednesday, told BBC Radio she had been sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell on multiple occasions over three years.
And she added: “I felt like every time I tried to get away, they found me.”
Ms Stein said she had been working on New York’s Fifth Avenue as an intern at a well-known retailer in 1994 when she assisted Maxwell and later offered to deliver her shopping to her hotel.
She said it was in the hotel bar that Maxwell introduced her to Epstein.
“So I met Epstein that evening and that was the first time they assaulted me,” she said.
“What happened to me that night with them really shook me.
“And the way I got away from them that first night was because Ghislaine knew that my boyfriend was coming in from out of town to meet me, and the way that I got out of that hotel room was by telling them that, if I didn’t show up for him, he would know that there was something wrong.”
She added: “It was very hard to say no to them, and it wasn’t like they came up to you and said ‘We want to sexually assault you’.”
Ms Stein said she did not pursue Epstein and Maxwell, “rather I was pursued by them”.
“I was very aware of the fact that they had a lot of power.
“So I understand that most people would look at this situation as ‘Why did you stay involved with them for three years?’ It was really difficult to get away.
“And I felt like every time I tried to get away, they found me. I moved several times and they found me. I absolutely should have gone to the police, I didn’t feel like I could. I just can’t explain to you the fear and the emotional manipulation.”
Ms Stein, who alleges she was assaulted by both Epstein and Maxwell, said she was made to feel “unsophisticated” to have not engaged in sexual activity with multiple people, and added: “Nobody asked me if they could gang-rape me.”
She said: “If I never met Ghislaine Maxwell, I would have never met Jeffrey Epstein. Absolutely.”
Ms Stein’s allegations were not included in Maxwell’s trial, which saw her convicted of five of six counts at a New York court on Wednesday.
But she had attended court on some days of the trial, and has been following the case.
She said sitting in the courtroom at first felt “uneasy” but then it “felt extraordinarily validating to be in the same room with her after all of these years and to not have that fear anymore”.
On the verdicts, she said: “I think that this is something that so many of us didn’t think would ever happen, and especially for a woman to be charged with these things.
“I hope that this really sets a precedent and it shows people that she was equally complicit in doing these things.”
Maxwell will appeal against her conviction for luring young girls for Epstein to molest, her brother Kevin has said.