Model and actress Alicia Arden is believed to be the first person to accuse Jeffrey Epstein of assault, and she spoke exclusively with Inside Edition about the incident and went back to the luxury hotel where she says it happened.
It was the first time Arden returned to Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, California. “[It was] very creepy actually and a little upsetting,” she said.
She told Inside Edition that she met the now-deceased Epstein two decades ago, when she was a lingerie model. Epstein told her that he was a recruiter for Victoria's Secret and that was interested in hiring her, she said. It's now known that Epstein was never a recruiter for Victoria’s Secret and lied to Arden when he told her that.
“He called me, he liked my pictures. He said, ‘OK, I will be out in California on this date and I will have my assistant, my secretary call you,’” she recalled.
She said she was told to meet Epstein in his hotel room at Shutters. She was hesitant to meet him in his room, she said, but because the meeting was set up through his secretary and during the day, she agreed.
Their meeting soon took a turn, she said. Shortly after she walked in, Epstein wanted her to undress, she said.
“He began telling me that he wanted me thinner, that I might have been 'too hippy,'” Arden recalled.
Arden said he then told her to come closer to him so he could evaluate her body.
“He was picking up my skirt kind of like lifting it up and started to touch my hips and my butt and kind of groping me and physically touching me and saying 'Let me manhandle you' and bringing me forward,” she said. “I took my portfolio and ran out of the hotel room crying.”
Arden said she went to file a police report and an officer tried to talk her out of it.
“I was with a police officer who told me to think about it, if I want to wait,” Arden said. “He said, ‘Well, don't you think you should think about it, you went up there willingly, you went up there willing to his hotel room.”
Police told Inside Edition detectives did follow up with both parties but in their words, "Ms. Arden did not want to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Epstein." Arden disputes that.