A woman who says she was raped and trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein when she was 17 has joined the growing list of alleged victims who are suing the shamed financier estate’s over sexual abuse.
Teala Davies, 34, said she had suffered lasting damage from her ordeal at the hands of the billionaire child-sex offender, who died in prison awaiting trial in August.
She filed her lawsuit on Thursday at Manhattan’s federal court, where a magistrate urged lawyers for Epstein’s estate to negotiate with victims about compensation, and later appeared at a press conference alongside her lawyer Gloria Allred.
Ms Allred read a statement in which her client described herself as the “perfect victim” for a sexual predator who took advantage of vulnerable teenagers and young women.
Ms Davies had a difficult childhood that included being homeless for a year at the age of 11, the lawyer said.
“When Teala Davies was just 17 years old, living on her own and working full-time to support herself, Jeffrey Epstein preyed upon her, manipulated her to be completely dependent on him, and sexually abused her,” Ms Allred told the press conference.
The lawyer showed journalists a photograph of her client, then a teenager, with Epstein in a helicopter. Text beneath the picture read: “They are flying over the US Virgin Islands. She is smiling because she did not yet realise he had a predatory plan for her.”
According to the lawsuit, Ms Davies was raped by Epstein at his homes in New York, Paris, Florida, New Mexico and the US Virgin Islands.
“It took me a long time to break free from his mind control and abuse,” she said in her statement. “I still have flashbacks. It still hurts.”
She said she was now speaking publicly “to set an example and inspire all victims of sexual abuse to conquer their fear and tell someone”.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, said the abuse ended when Epstein sent her home for good after she told him she was suffering from bulimia.
It was not the first time Ms Davies had appeared publicly. She also spoke along with other women at an August court hearing after Epstein’s death.
“I’m still a victim because I am fearful for my daughters and everyone’s daughters. I’m fearful for their future in this world, where there are predators in power, a world where people can avoid justice if their pockets run deep enough,” Davies said, at the earlier hearing.
Her lawsuit was filed a day after another woman anonymously sued in Manhattan's federal court against Epstein’s estate alleging that – at age 16 – she was manipulated by Epstein to be completely dependent on him while he sexually assaulted her repeatedly.
In the lawsuit, the unnamed woman said she came to the US as a young child with her parents from a war-torn country. She was living in New York and enjoying success as a model – with numerous spreads in major fashion magazines – when she first met Epstein in 2004.
The abuse – which lasted more than a year – led her to quit modelling and feel humiliated, angry and suicidal, the lawsuit said.
At least six alleged victims have launched legal action against Epstein’s estate, and lawyers representing accusers have told judges to expect more in the coming months.