Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims said they would have preferred their day in court over Saturday's news that the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker died by apparent suicide in his New York City jail cell.
Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15 after she was recruited outside her New York City high school, said his death does little for the deep scars that she and her fellow victims still carry.
“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court," she said in a statement. "We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
Araoz is not alone in that desire.
Civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents some of the women who accused Epstein, released a statement of an unnamed accuser who said, "I will never have a sense of closure now. I'm angry as hell that the prison could have allowed this to happen."
Other lawyers for Epstein's accusers called the act selfish and said they would continue pushing for accountability.
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Brad Edwards who represents many of Epstein's accusers said the millionaire financier's apparent suicide was an attempt to strip his victims of finality and justice. He urged anyone with information to come forward.
"While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for," he said in a statement. "The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused."
Bloom said that the civil case against Epstein's estate would continue.
"The criminal case ended with Epstein's death," Ron Kuby, a civil rights and defense lawyer, told NBC News. "But the lawsuit continues against his estate."
It essentially means that "the litigation goes on, but the defendant voluntarily absented himself," he said.
Kuby explained that plaintiffs in Epstein's case would have to file a claim to freeze his assets ahead of a civil court battle over his estate.
Bloom said that, while it's not possible to criminally prosecute someone who has died, civil suits can gather monetary damages so victims "can get full and fair compensation for the lifelong damage that he caused them."
"We intend to proceed with that immediately,” Bloom said on MSNBC. "We are going to get justice for these victims. We are not giving up. He is not going to escape justice, even in death."
Victims may also have the opportunity to file lawsuits against those who might have enabled Epstein's criminal behavior, Kuby said.
"There may be other people who could get sued, but as of Epstein, he's out of the case forever," Kuby said.
One alleged victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, now 36, said Epstein and his close associates had ordered her to have sex with several high-powered men when she was just 14 years old, according to a 2016 deposition released Friday.
Sigrid McCawley, lawyer to Giuffre and other victims, said the fact that Epstein took his own life less than 24 hours after the documents were released detailing "the scope, scale and sophistication of the international sex trafficking operation Epstein conducted, is no coincidence."
"We are hopeful that the government will continue to investigate and will focus on those who participated and facilitated Epstein's horrifying sex trafficking scheme that damaged so many," McCawley said.
Michael Avenatti, attorney for two Epstein victims, echoed McCawley's words saying, "In no way, shape or form can this be the end of the investigation."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.