Early Epstein accuser: Police could have stopped him in 1997

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — One of Jeffrey Epstein’s first known accusers says police didn’t take her complaint seriously in 1997 and blew the chance to bring the financier to justice long before he was charged with sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls and women.

Alicia Arden says she never heard back from police in Santa Monica, California, after accusing Epstein of groping her during what she thought was a modeling interview for Victoria’s Secret.

Police told The Associated Press last week that the case was dropped after Epstein gave a conflicting statement and Arden asked not to press charges, an assertion she strongly denies. Officers would not elaborate on Epstein’s account. His attorneys have previously said police discounted Arden’s allegations.

Arden says the fact that she was discredited was a “stab to my heart.”

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