One of the first women to publicly accuse Jeffrey Epstein of sexual misconduct has detailed her experiences with the sex offender and her failed efforts to bring Epstein to justice.
Maria Farmer, a once-promising artist, told the New York Times about her attempts to alert law enforcement to the alleged sexual abuses she and her younger sister Alice endured in the 1990s, when Epstein and his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell befriended both of them with promises to help launch Maria’s career and help Annie, then 16, with her college aspirations.
Maria was 25 in 1996 when she first met Epstein and Maxwell at gallery show for the New York Academy of Art, where she was a graduating student. Epstein soon offered her a job helping him to acquire art, she told the newspaper, and eventually Maria also came to work at his townhouse, managing the entrance while the building was undergoing renovations.
There, Maria said she witnessed a stream of young women coming and going, and once overheard Maxwell say, “I’ve got to go get girls for Jeffrey.”
After Maria mentioned to Epstein that her 16-year-old sister Annie was looking to go to college, he reportedly flew the teen from Arizona to New York City. The report indicates that at this time, Maria had not yet been subject to any inappropriate physical contact. But Annie wrote in a diary entry in 1996 that when Maxwell and Epstein took her to see a movie, Epstein rubbed her hand and her leg.
Later, Epstein invited Annie to his ranch in New Mexico, where she and her mother reportedly believed there would be a group of girls chaperoned by Maxwell. But when Annie arrived, it was just the three of them.
While there, Annie alleges that both Epstein and Maxwell touched her inappropriately, and that Epstein once crawled into bed with her, saying he wanted to cuddle.
Maria Farmer was unaware of what happened in New Mexico, and was at another of Epstein’s properties in Ohio, working o her art. When Epstein and Maxwell visited her there late that summer, Maria claims that both Epstein and Maxwell began massaging her over her clothes while the three of them were sitting on a bed watching television. Maria told the newspaper that they both twisted her nipples, and were touching her in unison, leading her to believe they were going to rape her. She said she ran to another part of the home and called friends and family for help. Her father ultimately drove from Kentucky to Ohio to pick her up, without knowing exactly what transpired.
At this point, Marie discussed Annie’s experiences with Epstein and Maxwell, and after learning that her sister had also been violated, she took steps to cut ties with the pair, who were in possession of some of her paintings. Once she returned to New York, Maria said that Maxwell called her and said she would destroy the paintings.
Maria reported the incidents to police in New York and also contacted the FBI, according to the report. The New York Times was able to verify the report Maria made in New York City, but the FBI declined to provide confirmation of any calls between FBI agents and Maria. Neither report appears to have gone anywhere, with police in New York City reportedly unable to intervene because the Ohio and New Mexico incidents were outside of their jurisdiction.
Both sisters reportedly spoke to a Vanity Fair reporter who was writing a profile on Epstein, but their accounts were not included in the published story. Still, word got to Maxwell that the Farmer sisters had been talking. Maria told the New York Times that Maxwell threatened her in a phone call.
“Better be careful and watch your back,” Maxwell allegedly said. “I know you go to the West Side Highway all the time. While you’re out there, just be really careful because there are a lot of ways to die there.”
Both sisters were later interviewed by the FBI as part of the investigation that led to Epstein’s 2008 plea deal. But Maria, like other victims, was disappointed that he faced such light consequences, and says she regrets that her and her sister’s experiences weren’t taken seriously sooner.
“Every time I hear one of the girls tell their story, it devastates me,” Maria said.