In 1997, aspiring model Alicia Arden went to Shutters on the Beach hotel in Santa Monica for what she thought was a tryout for a Victoria’s Secret catalog shoot. When she arrived, she encountered Jeffrey Epstein, who used his close relationship with Victoria’s Secret execs to pose as a model scout. Arden says she was groped and harassed by Epstein during the meeting, and that she reported his conduct to the local police. Then, she says, she never heard from the cops again and no charges were filed.
“If they would have taken me more seriously than they did, it could have helped all these girls,” Arden told the Associated Press. “It could have been stopped.”
The AP pressed the Santa Monica police to release details of the case, which the department turned over last week. Detective’s notes from the incident show that Epstein was questioned about the matter, but that his statement conflicted Arden’s account.
According to the police, they believed that Arden expressed that she did not want charges pressed against Epstein. Arden “strongly denies” that version of events, and, the AP reports, she was “outraged to hear that the police say otherwise.”
“The fact that they didn’t do anything, and they discredited me, is just a stab to my heart,” Arden told the wire service.
Arden’s recollections of her encounter with the Santa Monica police is that a male detective pressured her for seeing Epstein in a hotel room alone at all–even though, she says, she explained that she understood it to be a professional meeting–and that the detective suggested she “think about whether she really wanted to file a report.”
“I felt like I was being blamed,” she said of her interactions with the police.
Her desire to have the incident recorded and pursued lead her to return to the police station and file the official report with that same detective who had made her uncomfortable in the immediate aftermath of the alleged assault.
She claims she gave a detailed report resulting in a two-page document that was filed with the police department. A police spokesperson told the AP no record of that document could be found.
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