"Alicia deserves answers," Arden's lawyer, Gloria Allred, said at a press conference Monday

By Harriet Sokmensuer and Chris Harris
July 06, 2020 04:01 PM
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Alicia Arden
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Actress Alicia Arden has revealed she was a sex abuse victim of Jeffrey Epstein following last week's arrest of his former companion, Ghislaine Maxwell.

Arden, 51, says she was sexually assaulted by Epstein at Shutters on the Beach hotel in Santa Monica, California, in 1997, when she was 28 and an aspiring model.

The model and actress said during a press conference Monday she believed she was going to "a legitimate audition for Victoria's Secret" when she entered Epstein's room with her modeling portfolio.

She said the audition was facilitated, in part, by a friend.

Arden said Epstein said to her, "Let me manhandle you for a second," and later, forcefully pulled her shirt up over her head and her skirt down.

During the episode, Arden said Epstein touched her hips and buttocks. "I started to feel scared and I began to cry," Arden said.

Arden said when Epstein became distracted by a phone call, she quickly got dressed and started heading for the door. It was at this time, she said, that Epstein offered her $100.

"I told him, 'Jeffrey, I'm not a prostitute,'" she recalled. "'I want to be in the Victoria's Secrets catalogue."

She said he responded, "Let me see what I can do."

"I felt violated and mistreated," she recalled. "He took advantage of me."

Arden spoke at a press conference Monday afternoon organized by her attorney Gloria Allred. The press conference came on the one-year anniversary of Epstein's arrest.

Arden said that she filed a report about the matter with the Santa Monica police department, but that she never heard back from a detective or a prosecutor.

"Alicia deserves answers," Allred said at the press conference.

Arden, whose acting credits include TV's Baywatch, General Hospital and Red Shoe Diaries, has been in a multiple movies during her career as well.

This is not the first time she's gone public with these allegations. She spoke to Inside Edition in 2019 and other media outlets earlier this year.

Epstein's Companion Arrested Last Week

Arden spoke out several days after the arrest of Maxwell, a British socialite and heiress. Arden's accusations do not implicate Maxwell, who has been accused of multiple women of recruiting them when they were underage and grooming them for sex with the financier Epstein and other powerful men.

Charges against Maxwell, who is Epstein's former girlfriend, include conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to entice minors to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sex acts and perjury.

Jeffrey Epstein
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Last year, Epstein, a registered sex offender, was arrested on sex crimes charges accusing him of abusing dozens of underage girls. In August 2019, he died by suicide while in jail awaiting trial.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty

At a press conference last week, Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, accused Maxwell of helping Epstein "identify, befriend and groom minor victims of abuse" during a period from at least 1994 to 1997.

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The pair "had a method," Strauss alleged, involving befriending girls by "asking them questions about their lives and pretending to be taking an interest in them."

"She pretended to be a woman they could trust," Strauss said. "All the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused."

Maxwell has long denied wrongdoing. Jeffrey S. Pagliuca, who has served as Maxwell's lawyer, has not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.