Leslie H. Wexner has made his first comments on the charges and allegations surrounding his former associate, disgraced billionaire and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
The chairman and chief executive officer of L Brands Inc. — which owns Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works — Wexner wrote to his employees Monday explaining he was “NEVER aware” of Epstein’s illegal activity. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wexner wrote: “I would never have guessed that a person I employed more than a decade ago could have caused such pain to so many people. My heart goes out to each and every person who has been hurt.”
He went on to write that he severed all ties with Epstein nearly 12 years ago. “I would not have continued to work with any individual capable of such egregious, sickening behavior as has been reported about him,” he wrote. “As you can imagine, this past week I have searched my soul…reflected…and regretted my path ever crossed his.”
On July 6, Epstein was arrested on the charges of one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors between 2002 and 2005, according to court documents released by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York. Epstein was previously convicted in 2008 after pleading guilty to the solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. He was sentenced to only 13 months in prison. If convicted on the new charges, he faces a maximum of 45 years in prison.
Wexner and Epstein were closely linked from the Nineties to the early Aughts when Epstein managed Wexner’s finances. Epstein went on to take sole ownership of the Manhattan mansion that he and Wexner bought together – the same residence on East 71 Street that some of Epstein’s alleged acts of child sex trafficking and assault took place. According to court documents, prosecutors have demanded Epstein forfeit the residence as part of the charges against him.
In April, a victim named Maria Farmer came forward alleging she was sexually assaulted by Epstein at Wexner’s home in Ohio in the Nineties and that Wexner’s security staff prohibited her from leaving the residence. Wexner has not responded to this allegation.
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