Last week, the New York Times published an interview with a woman who says Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her and her sister in the 1990s.
Maria Farmer told the Times’ Mike Baker that some of the abuse occurred in Epstein’s estate in Columbus, Ohio. Farmer said her younger sister, Annie, was only 16 at the time, was victimized.
One of Epstein’s closest Ohio friends was Columbus billionaire Les Wexner. The two were such good friends, Epstein advised Wexner on business and regularly stayed at Wexner’s estate before acquiring one of his own.
Wexner has said the two had a falling out years ago and that he was completely unaware of Epstein’s proclivities for sex with children. Wexner has never been suspected nor accused of any wrongdoing.
But someone in Columbus had to know something about Epstein’s behavior.
Epstein’s jet-setting, wealth and connections made him a icon for some men who either were willing to ignore what was in plain sight in order to be in his orbit or wanted in on it.
Remember when the current president said, according to a recording, “When you’re a celebrity, they let you do anything”? He’s a right. The uber-rich and famous live by a completely different set of rules.
We know this because Epstein never tried to camouflage his behavior. In fact, he was envied and lauded for a lifestyle that centered on an endless supply of girls and young women, whom he allegedly “loaned out.”
His private island was nicknamed “Pedophile Island.”
He had a fleet of employees who saw evil but did not speak of it.
Why would life at his estate in Columbus be any different?
Farmer, who told Baker she kept a diary, said her dream of becoming an artist was Epstein’s entree into her life; he promised her patronage and help. She detailed preparations for house visits by former President Bill Clinton and meeting current President Donald Trump.
Farmer said she tried to warn authorities in Ohio, New York and New Mexico, various media outlets and the movers and shakers in the New York art scene, but her efforts were scuttled by way of threats, or downplayed, or worse, ignored.
Farmer was ignored and Epstein destroyed girls with impunity because, let’s face it, some lives matter more than others.
The sisters tried to warn the world again in 2003, through an interview with journalist Vicky Ward for Vanity Fair, but their interview was scuttled by editor Graydon Carter, who has since said it didn’t clear the legal threshold.
The Times’ story reports that, finally, in 2006, the FBI sought out Farmer for an interview, which helped lead to Epstein’s conviction on lesser state charges in Florida in 2008.
It’s only a matter of time before more women come forward to share the details of their nightmares in Columbus.
Unfortunately, consequences don’t die with the perpetrator. Farmer, who no longer paints, said she’s haunted by guilt for introducing her younger sister to Epstein and by the countless girls who subsequently were victimized because people wouldn’t listen.
But Maria Farmer isn’t the one who should be suffering.
Reach Charita at 330-580-8313. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP.