When Marijke Chartouni found the woman who recruited her for Jeffrey Epstein 20 years ago, she felt a sense of closure and relief. Here was someone who could confirm that the perverted financier sexually assaulted Chartouni, not only because she was a witness but because she participated in the disturbing encounter.
But confronting the onetime friend—a New Jersey artist named Rina Oh—has brought up a mess of complicated feelings for Chartouni and fellow survivors of Epstein’s trafficking ring. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who was kept as Epstein’s teenage “sex slave” from 1999 to 2002, claims Oh abused her in New York.
While Chartouni hasn’t spoken to Oh directly, she gave journalist Tara Palmeri permission to contact her as part of the Broken: Seeking Justice podcast.
As The Daily Beast previously reported, Chartouni was a 20-year-old model in 2000 when a friend named “Rina” brought her to Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse. During the visit, she says, both Rina and the financier assaulted her. Chartouni didn’t tell a soul about the encounter until after Epstein’s arrest in July 2019. When she spoke to the FBI, she couldn’t remember Rina’s last name.
After some online sleuthing, Chartouni found Rina and worked with Palmeri to approach her. “I put a name to a face after 20 years,” Chartouni told us. “That was enough for me.” Chartouni added, “I don’t hold any ill will toward her, even though she recruited me. Forgiveness is very freeing.”
Oh denies abusing Giuffre and, in an interview with The Daily Beast, claims she recently realized she was a victim of Epstein’s manipulation and abuse, too. “I want to clear my name and come forward as a victim,” Oh said. “I think it’s wrong to call someone like me a recruiter. I think there needs to be a differentiation.”
“Recruiters were bringing in dozens of people; I didn’t do that,” Oh added, saying she only brought three women to Epstein’s Upper East Side home.
This week, Giuffre took to Twitter to slam Oh as “a deranged woman who was NO victim” and called for authorities to investigate her as a “co-conspirator.” She also railed against Oh’s participation in the victim compensation fund. “Rina- if you read this I hope you live in shame for the rest of your life,” Giuffre wrote. “You don’t intimidate me any longer & the physical & mental scares you left me with should be enough to put your a** in jail…”
As more victims and witnesses come forward, their stories highlight the difficulties prosecutors face in deciding whether to charge Epstein’s alleged accomplices, who also identify as victims of Epstein themselves. Sarah Kellen and Nadia Marcinkova, two co-conspirators in Epstein’s Florida case, broke their silence after his arrest to say (through spokespersons) that he sexually abused them for years.
These stories also reveal the gray areas of Epstein’s sickening world and how survivors are sometimes divided on whether to accept certain adult recruiters as fellow victims. Victims’ lawyer Brad Edwards, who represents Chartouni and multiple other victims, has also taken Oh as a client. He didn’t return messages seeking comment.
“My line in the sand is… did you have the ability to get out?” Giuffre told The Daily Beast. “If you did, why didn’t you? Especially people like Rina. She wanted to be there. She was complaining [Epstein] wouldn’t take her places. That doesn’t sound like a victim to me.”
In the latest episode of the Broken: Seeking Justice podcast, Oh admits to delivering three young women to Epstein’s New York mansion. “I was in the room when Marijke and I were both victimized by Epstein,” Oh told the podcast. She also confirmed she took a 17-year-old Giuffre shopping for a schoolgirl outfit on Epstein’s orders.
Titled “The Recruiters,” the episode marked the first time Oh spoke publicly about Epstein, or was even mentioned in connection to the wealthy sex-offender. Oh claims she didn’t know Epstein was having sex with underage girls.
She said her husband Vincent Amen—an uncharged co-conspirator in the 2005 failed prosecution against Michael Jackson, who was charged with molesting a teenage cancer patient in California—encouraged her to defend her own reputation. Amen lived on Jackson’s Neverland ranch and, according to court papers, was one of five associates accused in a conspiracy to hold the boy’s family hostage so they’d create a video praising the popstar.
Palmeri, Broken’s host, visited Oh at her New Jersey studio inside a former factory in an industrial wasteland. Oh showed off some paintings inspired by Epstein, including a portrait of Prince Andrew as Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, and Ghislaine Maxwell holding forbidden fruit.
Oh’s studio also contained a super-sized print of the infamous photo of Prince Andrew clutching the bare waist of Giuffre, as Maxwell smiled in the background. Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew, who adamantly denies abusing her or any other young women in Epstein’s trafficking ring.
Asked why she printed the photograph, Oh replied, “I blew it up to show that he may not be wrong when he said that the picture was doctored. To me as a painter and photographer the lighting doesn't look right.”
Oh said she was studying at the School of Visual Arts when a friend introduced her to Epstein, who she hoped would become her patron. Epstein allegedly offered to pay for a few of her school credits, as well as a gallery space in Soho.
The artist claims she believed she and Epstein were in a relationship; she considered him her older rich boyfriend. Asked whether Epstein was also in a relationship with Giuffre, Oh replied, “I’m not going to answer that. I just know she was around him a lot.”
Oh again denied having any sexual contact with Giuffre. “I was nothing but nice to this girl,” she said, after calling Giuffre’s accusation “a complete fabricated lie.”
For her part, Giuffre told the podcast Epstein introduced her to Oh in New York, and alleges that Oh was involved in abusing her during some S&M activity. “Rina was willing to do whatever Epstein wanted,” Giuffre said, adding that Oh was upset Epstein didn’t invite her to travel to the Caribbean with other young women he abused. Epstein cut Oh from his circle sometime after Giuffre informed him Oh wanted to join their entourage, Giuffre said. “I never saw Rina again after that conversation,” Giuffre told the podcast.
Oh admitted that she took Giuffre shopping on St. Mark’s Place for a “sexy” schoolgirl outfit after Epstein called her and said, “You would know where to go. Take her there.”
Palmeri asked Oh whether she questioned why Epstein wanted then 17-year-old Giuffre in school-girl attire. Oh replied, “I wasn’t asking any questions; I just did as I was told. You don’t ask questions. You’re not privy to ask; that’s rude. You’re dealing with a billionaire.”
When Palmeri countered that Giuffre was a child, Oh pushed back: “Seventeen to me is not a child. Seventeen is a minor… And 17 is of legal age in New York State.”
Giuffre told The Daily Beast that hearing Oh’s voice in Broken: Seeking Justice retraumatized her and brought up memories she’d long buried. “I have a scar from her that’s six inches long,” Giuffre said, alleging that Epstein used Oh for S&M encounters, with Oh serving as the dominatrix while Giuffre played a submissive role.
This picture that Rina painted with the sliced leg bleeding is exactly what she used to do to me, I have a 6 inch scar on my left leg from her cutting me. I can let a lot of s**t go, but this I will never forget. #PureEvil #LockHerUp @FBI @thedailybeast @nytimes #Justice 🩸🙏🦋 https://t.co/HDNJpOvDkZ
— Virginia Giuffre (@VRSVirginia) October 29, 2020
“It was hard to go back down those memories,” Giuffre said. “It’s something I’ve shut out. When I heard her, the floodgates of hell opened up.”
“I remember so much of what she made me do. How critical it was in shaping me as a young woman, not being able to trust other women,” Giuffre added.
“What Rina did cannot be let go. The control she possessed over me, it wasn’t just a cut. She demeaned me.”
In response to Giuffre’s claims, Oh told us, “I did not participate in any type of S&M activity with Virginia or anyone else in Epstein’s orbit.”
“If Virginia was abused in that manner, it was absolutely not with me,” Oh said.
Meanwhile, as for Chartouni, Oh issued the following apology in the podcast: “I’m sorry I didn’t know what was going to happen. If you had a bad experience, you know, you had a bad experience, but I was not abusive. I’m not an abusive person.”
In an interview on Thursday, Oh told the Daily Beast she plans to contact the FBI about her experiences with Epstein. A mother of two young sons, Oh said she didn’t realize she was a victim until after her interview with Palmeri. She also bashed Giuffre for “making up lies about me.”
“I was seeing a man named Jeffrey. To this day, I still believe I was in a relationship with him,” Oh said. “That’s how much he victimized me. He made me believe we were in a relationship. It wasn’t until I spent a week with Jeffrey and Ghislaine in Florida that I started seeing the scope of his manipulation.”
The artist claims she spent a week with Epstein and Maxwell in Palm Beach, Florida, in March 2001—along with another young woman in her 20s—and that the couple took her to Mar-A-Lago a few times. Looking back, Oh suspects the creepy duo was shopping her around to their rich friends.
Oh said she was axed from Epstein’s orbit after she refused to go to dinner with Maxwell, who allegedly wanted to introduce her to “three very rich guys.” That day, she says, Epstein “brutalized” her “in a very sadistic manner.”
“I was asked to go out to dinner with Ghislaine and I refused to go,” Oh said. “They cut me off when I said no.”
Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here