Assessing Virginia Roberts' Credibility

Alan Dershowitz says Virginia Roberts, aka Jane Doe #3 and 102 in the Jeffrey Epstein civil suits) is a "serial liar." (For background, see here). Yesterday, Roberts told the Daily Mail she is writing her memoirs and will name all the powerful people Epstein directed her to have sex with while she was employed by him.

Since she has publicly accused Dershowitz and Prince Andrew of engaging in criminal acts in a court pleading (available here), and threatens to make similar accusations against other prominent persons, I think she has put her credibility in issue. What has she said in her various interviews over the years and are there discrepancies? What was her life like before she met Epstein? Was she an average teen, or did she have severe problems? Her lawyers' statements should also be examined. Are their statements consistent with hers, and if not, why not? Is it just sloppiness? [More...]

Virginia Roberts has been giving interviews about her time with Jeffrey Epstein since at least February of 2011. (The original published version was updated in March, 2011.) Most were to the Daily Mail. There are some discrepancies in her interviews and her lawyers' pleading.

From her account in her own words as told to the Daily Mail in two separate interviews, the last of which occurred about a year ago.

She says her first meeting with Epstein was in 1998 when she was 15.

[W]ithin the first hour, he knew my life story. I told him I’d been a runaway and I’d lived on the street and I’d taken ecstasy tablets and I wasn’t a virgin.

She says she was 11 when she first ran away.

Her lawyers, in the incendiary pleading filed last week naming Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz, say she met Epstein and had her first encounter with Epstein in 1999 at which time she was 15.

Which is it? 1998 or 1999? Considering her allegations that Epstein provided her services to others while she was a minor, a year matters. Her lawyers filed a "corrected version" of their pleading a day after filing the original, but it still says 1999 was the starting point of her relationship with Epstein and she was 15 then.

Not only do their timelines not match, her lawyers' pleading claims she was a minor at the time of all three of her encounters with Prince Andrew. But in multiple interviews, Virginia Roberts says she was 17 at the time of her first two encounters with Prince Andrew in 2001 and over 18 at the time of the third encounter. Again, either she or her lawyers are mistaken. If she is correct, her lawyers' claim that she was a minor during all three encounters with Prince Andrew is false. More on this later.

On her life before Epstein: a Daily Mail interview with Roberts in March, 2011 says she born in August, 1983. She told the Mail she had been molested by a close family friend as a young child and was a runaway at age 11.

The fallout from that led to her parents temporarily splitting up. Blaming herself, Virginia began to get into trouble. Aged 11, she was sent to live with an aunt but repeatedly ran away.

Living on the streets, she was beaten up and slept with at least two older men in return for food. ‘I was a paedophile’s dream,’ she says.

Why did her parents have a falling out over her allegation? Did one believe the other was at fault for letting it happen, or did one of her parents not believe the abuse occurred? Were the allegations reported to the police? Was anyone ever charged?

Moving on to age 14 to 15:

Three years later, she was reunited with her family and started a new life with her father who had moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where he was maintenance manager at Donald Trump’s country club, Mar-a-Lago.

Virginia got a part-time job as a changing room assistant –which is where, soon after her 15th birthday, she met Ghislaine Maxwell, who invited her to work as Epstein’s personal masseuse.

She says her father drove her to Epstein's for her "job interview" during which she had sex with Epstein and then went home. Even though she says it was rough and repeated sex, her father apparently didn't notice anything when she got home. She voluntarily went back to Epstein's the next day, had sex with him again, and accepted his job offer to be his full time traveling masseuse. She returned every day for two weeks, having sex each time, before traveling with him.

She and her lawyers say she was a "sex slave." Slavery implies involuntary servitude. She was paid handsomely and chose to stay. She took the job after it was made clear to her sex would be a part of it. She's never said she was forced to take it or that she was coerced or violence was used or threatened. Why did she stay? According to her, she liked the money and wanted to be Epstein's number 1 girl:

I would do anything to keep Jeffrey happy and keep my place as his No 1 girl.’

Some more snippets from her interviews:

Jeffrey bought me jewellery – diamonds were his favourite – and wonderful furniture. He was paying me very well because I’d give him sex whenever he wanted it.’


Epstein gave her an apartment in Palm Beach, and began paying her to fly from city to city with him as his ‘travelling masseuse’. He would ask her for erotic massages on an almost daily basis, always paying her immediately afterwards.

"Sex slave" hardly seems to be an accurate description of the relationship. Illegal, immoral, yes. Forced? No.

How many men besides Epstein did she have sex with while working for him? Were there dozens or hundreds during the two years she says he says he offered her to others? (She says she was just being groomed for this the first two years.) There were at least 8, according to her statements in a court document called Exhibit "D" in a state case in which Epstein and her lawyer Edwards were suing each other, described here.

She claims to have provided sexual services to at least eight of Epstein’s famous friends, but declines to name them, saying ‘some of these people are really influential in power’.

Exhibit D also reportedly contains her description of the men:

They included a well-known businessman (whose pregnant wife was asleep in the next room), a world-renowned scientist, a respected liberal politician and a foreign head of state.

There's no mention of royalty or Dershowitz, and she has since said neither Al Gore nor Bill Clinton were interested in or engaged in sex with her or anyone during their Epstein visits. Same for George Mitchell.

Back to Prince Andrew: Her 2011 media interviews describe her three encounters with Prince Andrew, but never mentioned having sex with him. Her first encounter with him was in London in March, 2001. She was 17 1/2. The second was in New York around Easter, 2001. She was still 17. "Her third was after she turned 18, at Epstein’s Caribbean island." The Mail and other papers reported:

There is no suggestion that there was any sexual contact between Virginia and Andrew, or that Andrew knew that Epstein paid her to have sex with his friends.

..She met Andrew for the third and final time on Epstein’s Caribbean island, Little Saint James. Virginia was never under the British legal age of consent when she met Andrew. She was 17 during the first two encounters and 18 at the third.

So there are two inconsistencies between her interviews and her lawyer's version of events in their recent filing. The lawyers say she began working for Epstein in 1999 when she was 15 (it was 1998 according to her) and they say she was a minor at the time of all three of her encounters with Andrew, while she says she was only a minor during the first two encounters.

If she was born in August, 1983, and she was 19 when she "escaped" in 2002, her lawyers' claim that all three encounters with Prince Andrew occurred when she was a minor seems demonstrably wrong.

(Also, according to this Daily Mail interview, her trip to Thailand in 2002, was a 19th birthday present from Epstein. She turned 19 in August, 2002.)

"For her 19th birthday, Epstein flew Miss Roberts to Thailand to take a massage course. She met an Australian martial arts expert there and married him ten days later."

As to Dershowitz, could Ms. Roberts be mistaken rather than lying? Has she confused him with someone else? I think that's possible. At the time she identified him to her lawyers, she was recalling events from several years earlier. In one interview, she says she took up to 8 Xanax a day while with Epstein. Since she was out of the country from 2002 to late in 2013, she may not have seen Dershowitz on TV.

Considering this is the first time the Dershowitz allegations have publicly surfaced, I wonder whether this is a mistake, rather than an intentionally false claim on her part. But how did it happen? Did her current lawyers show her a bunch of photos, asking which, if any, Epstein directed her to have sex with so many years before, and include his photo in the group? Did they identify him for her?

She has previously complained her first lawyers, who represented her in her suit for damages, didn't show her photos of men for identification:

[a source said] ‘Virginia was interviewed by phone from Australia for maybe 45 minutes before the secret plea bargain was cut.’ Virginia agreed the original questioning was insufficient but felt powerless to do anything about it. ‘I felt no one was listening to me,’ she said last night, ‘including maybe my own lawyers.

‘I told my lawyers I thought that some of the men I had to have sex with were powerful and rich, but they didn’t even show me pictures that would have helped me identify them.

Why is she writing her memoirs? Does she need money? She and her husband have three children. They reportedly moved back to the U.S. in November, 2013, first to Florida (where her father lives) and then to California where she says she grew up. Her mother apparently lives in Denver, which is where she made her most recent statement to the Daily Mail about writing her memoirs. What does her husband do for a living? One article I read says he "works on the fringe of the clothing industry."

The amount of her civil compensation from Epstein hasn't been disclosed, but the statutory amount that most victims got was $150,000. She settled her civil lawsuit against Epstein in 2010. Is that what she and her family have been living on, and it's about used up? There's no monetary benefit to be gained from joining in the victim's rights lawsuit. Financial compensation is not a remedy. Her lawyers' goal is to invalidate the non-prosecution agreement so Epstein can do more time. Her lawyer Bradley Edwards, who writes most of the pleadings and has represented several other Epstein victims, says he's determined to get Epstein's non-prosecution deal set aside. He made no bones about his goal in 2011:

I currently represent several victims that want Epstein prosecuted for the crimes he committed against them, which is why we filed a claim under the Crime Victim’s Rights Act in an effort to overturn the illegal plea deal and get true justice for these victims.”

Is she being used by her lawyers to advance their activist goals? One of them, Paul Cassell, is famous for his decades-long victim's rights activism (as well as his fierce support of the death penalty and insistence that no innocent people have been or are likely to sentenced to death, his opposition to Miranda rights and crusade to end them, his fight for greater victim restitution in child p*rn cases, and on and on.) He represented the victims in the OKC bombing trials, filing many actions on their behalf. He became a federal judge in Utah, but gave it up to concentrate on his activism and be a law professor. I was personally glad he left the bench. Also see this article for more on his views.

Does Ms. Roberts early life before working for Epstein warrant further examination? What about her possible motives? And her lawyers' possible motives? Given that she has thrust herself in the public eye with new and incendiary allegations of criminal acts by prominent persons and threatens to make the same claims against others, I think it does. I suspect Epstein's lawyers have already conducted such an examination, which is why Dershowitz felt confident stating she's a "serial liar." That said, it doesn't mean Dershowitz is correct. Just like whatever her lawyers are relying on as support for her claim may or may not actually be confirmation. We'll probably never see the results of Epstein's investigation to really know. Just like we'll never know whether she had a juvenile criminal record from her years as a runaway when she admits she traded sex with older men in exchange for food. She looks so innocent and wholesome, but you can't always judge a book by its cover. She's clearly a crime victim because Epstein's acts were illegal, but that doesn't mean everything she says true.

Victims of crime are by law afforded plenty of rights. They do not include, and should not include, the right to make any public accusation they want against anyone they want, without fear of having their credibility examined. And should their allegations turn out to be false, I think their lawyers should be prepared to disclose the efforts they took to verify the allegations before making them public. Especially in a case like this where at least one of Roberts' lawyers is famous for his decades of activism on behalf of crime victims.

Added: As I frequently opine, trials should take place in courtrooms not in living rooms or on the internet. The difference here is that Alan Dershowitz is not on trial. He's not even a party to any pending case involving Epstein or Roberts. So there was unlikely to be a judicial forum to determine the validity of the extremely serious and harmful allegations made against him. But now that he's filed a motion to intervene in the civil suit, and Roberts' lawyers have sued him for defamation, (see my post here) maybe that will change.

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  • Display: Sort:
    mr. dershowitz has threatened to have both (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 06, 2015 at 04:45:53 PM EST
    attorneys repping ms. Roberts disbarred, more noise than substance. that said, given the high media volume a case like this will raise, you would hope those attorneys had done more than the minimal due diligence required, given the accusations being made, and reputations being smeared. on the flip side, dershowitz's shrieking comes across as the classic "methinks thou doth protest too much" type. had ms. Roberts simply made an error in identification, while certainly annoying, a more measured, "geez, I never met the woman before, I think they've mistaken me for someone else. we'll get this cleared up in short order." would come across, PR wise, as the better approach.

    I suppose a lot of this will filter out, if there are ever depositions.

    I'd just point out (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:55:42 AM EST
    that Dershowitz doesn't do "measured" on anything.  He's always super-vehement and over the top.  If you're going to make judgments on someone's behavior, you need to know what their baseline, normal behavior is.  Dershowitz's has always been high-decibel, even when he himself isn't being accused of anything.

    true enough. however, even for him this is absurd. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by cpinva on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:29:44 PM EST
    and when you're constantly shrieking that the sky is falling, after a while, people tend to tune you out. it's kind of a sad situation. this young woman has been used and exploited for a good bit of her life, let's hope she's not being used by these two attorneys as well.

    True, his style is very vocal (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 01:22:48 PM EST
    And strident at times, and I've mentioned before that I disagree with him on the notion of torture warrants.

    But there is a very intelligent mind behind that style, so don't count him out in this case because of his response to it.  If it can be proven that the lawyers for the other side made statements and representations that they knew weren't true, disbarment would be the appropriate remedy.  The kicker, of course, is the "proven to be true" part of it.


    I think anybody who is falsely (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 08:20:45 AM EST
    accused would be vehement about their innocence, including most of the people who comment on this site.

    I hadn't considered it from that perspective (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Tue Jan 06, 2015 at 08:03:14 PM EST
    But I think your comment is very compelling.

    OMG Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 06, 2015 at 11:39:48 PM EST
    She was paid handsomely?

    So if it is true, she was paid handsomely?  That is a horrific perspective.

    She was little more than a child from an obviously quite broken family system.  If it is true, she was set up from the git to be abused and used.

    Paid handsomely?  How horrible

    A child, with a child's power.....almost none, precious little, and easily manipulated.

    And how much power did she really have to leave (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 03:52:12 PM EST
    the situation, no matter how many diamonds she received? Reminds me of some kind of a harem girl with all the luxuries but no freedom.

    she lived in her own apartment (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 09:10:47 PM EST
    that Epstein rented for her in Palm Beach. Most of these girls had troubled backgrounds. They may have preferred this to what was available to them elsewhere. While that doesn't excuse him or make his conduct less criminal, it's also not slavery.

    She says that when she finally did tell him she wasn't coming back from Thailand, his words were "Have a nice life."  No threats. She never heard from him again for years, until after she was interviewed by police and his investigators got her phone number in Australia.

    She also had a boyfriend for the last 11 months she was with Epstein. He has given an interview now.


    Yes, good points (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ruffian on Thu Jan 08, 2015 at 11:16:10 AM EST
    It does seem that she was more autonomous then I thought at first. So sad there was so much damage done to her at such a young age that I don't know how to measure her true level of freedom. Maybe it is not actionable legally at this point, but it just makes me mad there are so many people willing to take advantage of a young girl,a nd then walk away and say 'hey, I paid her!'. Always been that way I know, and I guess there is no end in sight.

    This is clearly (none / 0) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 12:58:14 AM EST
    a very disturbed person, who likely no longer knows what's actually true and what isn't, given the bizarre life she led for those critically impressionable years.  She probably doesn't realize she's still being badly exploited by voracious men.

    gyrfalco, so nice to see you (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 08:06:05 AM EST
    Around these parts again. It has been a long time since I have read a comment from you. How are you?

    And Dershowitz credibility? (none / 0) (#13)
    by dougjhatlem on Sat Jan 24, 2015 at 11:21:36 PM EST
    I suppose you'll bend over backwards just as far on Dershowitz credibility now, right? 1998 vs. 1999 (huge difference per you here) ... Dershowitz tell American Lawyer he met JE around 2003. It was 1997 at least, per flight logs. The Dersh says it's wrong to say he was chummy w/ JE, but told Vanity Fair JE was his friend, would be even if he had no money, and that he was the only one outside his family to see drafts of his books. Dershowitz claimed he only met w/ JE w/ his family until he became his lawyer. Not true, per numerous flight logs. Dershowitz also insists there weren't any young women on the flights he took w/ JE, but lo and behold, lots of them are listed on multiple flights.

    I won't hold my breath for that post. Shredding the credibility of a teenage victim of rape by saying HOW COULD SHE BE A SLAVE SHE WAS PAID while ignoring blatant lies of the powerful male victim is just what you do when the powerful male accused takes your side politically, eh?