On June 20, news broke of a civil lawsuit filed against Donald Trump, who is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl some 20 years ago at the Upper East Side apartment of Jeffrey Epstein. Trump has largely been able to ignore the story, which has not been seriously investigated by major news outlets. But that may soon change.
Trump is no stranger to rape and sexual assault allegations. During divorce proceedings, Ivana Trump described under oath how the Republican presidential nominee once tore her hair out with his fists and brutally raped her because her plastic surgeon gave him a painful scalp reduction. After the divorce was finalized, Trump released a statement saying his ex-wife did not use the word “rape” in its “literal or criminal” sense.
In a separate lawsuit, business partner Jill Harth accused Trump of attempting to rape her multiple times, culminating in an incident where he “forcibly kissed, fondled, and restrained (her) from leaving, against (her) will and despite her protests,” according to court filings. The case was settled out of court, but Harth stands by her accusations. After The New York Times published a lengthy investigation into multiple instances of sexual misconduct against women by Trump, including Harth’s, Trump countered that the allegations were “made up.” Harth responded on Twitter:
“My part was true. I didn’t talk. As usual you opened your big mouth.”
While those accusations have received plentiful coverage, the latest, and if possible, most nauseating, has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media. A lawsuit filed against the Republican nominee by an unnamed accuser — referred to as “Jane Doe” in the filings — alleges that Trump raped her repeatedly at 13 years of age while she was tied to a bed, and that he beat her while she pleaded for him to stop, to no avail.
According to the suit, when Trump finished raping her, he allegedly told her “were she ever to reveal any of the details of the sexual and physical abuse of her by Defendant Trump, Plaintiff and her family would be physically harmed if not killed.”
The assault allegedly took place in 1994 at the mansion of Jeffrey Epstein, who is also named in the suit and accused of “anally and vaginally raping” the defendant, as well as beating her and threatening her and her family. Known as the “billionaire pedophile,” Epstein is similarly no stranger to rape and sexual assault, but while he was able to settle many cases out of court by paying hush money to “scores of alleged victims who said he serially molested them,” in 2008, one stuck. After being convicted of soliciting sex from an underage girl, he had to register as a Level 3 registered sex offender — a “threat to public safety.”
So why has this case been seemingly brushed aside by powerful media outlets? Despite Trump’s and Epstein’s alleged and not-so-alleged history of abuse, many may have initially doubted its credibility. This is the second filing by the woman against Trump — the first, filed without a lawyer under the name Katie Johnson, requested $100 million in damages and was thrown out due to filing errors. (After acquiring a lawyer, the suit was refiled anonymously, dropping some of the more serious charges, adding evidence, and reducing the damages sought to $75,000.) The particularly appalling nature of the purported crime may have also led to some dismissing it out of hand — with all the attacks lobbed at Trump, child rape may have seemed too shocking to believe?
But is such doubt warranted, or more importantly, responsible? Lisa Bloom of the Huffington Post wrote up a compelling appeal detailing why this accusation needs to be treated as seriously as any other. Trump’s well-documented misogyny and prior rape allegations provide context, and for those for whom a woman’s word is not sufficient evidence: Jane Doe’s suit includes a witness statement that corroborates her account.
Signed by one “Tiffany Doe,” who purports to have been Epstein’s “party planner” from 1991 to 2000, the statement details how the witness was tasked with procuring “attractive adolescent women to attend these parties.” Doe says she recruited Jane at Port Authority and witnessed the assaults against her by Trump and Epstein:
I personally witnessed the Plaintiff being forced to perform various sexual acts with Donald J. Trump and Mr. Epstein. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein were advised that she was 13 years old.
I personally witnessed four sexual encounters that the Plaintiff was forced to have with Mr. Trump during this period, including the fourth of these encounters where Mr. Trump forcibly raped her despite her pleas to stop.
I am coming forward to swear to the truthfulness of the physical and sexual abuse that I personally witnessed of minor females at the hands of Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein . . . I swear to these facts under the penalty for perjury even though I fully understand that the life of myself and my family is now in grave danger.
Trump, naturally, denied all of the allegations in the suit. His team released a statement to Radar Online following the initial filing by Johnson:
The allegations are not only categorically false, but disgusting at the highest level and clearly framed to solicit media attention or, perhaps, are simply politically motivated. There is absolutely no merit to these allegations. Period.
Another potentially motivating factor keeping this suit from gaining traction with larger media outlets? Despite his status as a pariah in the public at large, Epstein is still a billionaire, i.e.: Epstein is still powerful. Aside from Trump, the financier has palled around with basically the entirety of the Washington and Hollywood elites, including Kevin Spacey, Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Charlie Rose, Chris Tucker, Woody Allen, and Prince Andrew, to name a few. (It’s alleged that he’s collected dirt on attendees of his sex parties to blackmail them.)
Epstein’s also funded almost every scientific and philanthropic organization you can name and donated to a number of political campaigns, including the Clintons. For a long time, in fact, many wondered whether Trump would attack his opponent in the general election by bringing up her husband Bill’s purported close friendship with Epstein, as well as the former president’s regular appearances on the financier’s private plane, dubbed “the Lolita Express.”
Given the fact that this most recent allegation against Trump is gaining steam, it’s unlikely he’ll want to draw further attention to his own relationship with Epstein. Because while he might deny the contents of Jane Doe’s lawsuit, he’s on the record as being good buds with the billionaire sex offender. In 2002, before he could ever dream of being voted the Republican presidential nominee — and before the extent of Epstein’s horrific transgressions became public knowledge — Trump told New York Magazine (bolding mine):
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”