Michelle Licata was just a 16-year-old high school student when a friend passed her a note in class containing a proposition: if she gave an older man a massage, she could earn hundreds of dollars in cash. It was mere days before Christmas 2004, and Licata, who worked part-time at a supermarket in West Palm Beach, Florida, needed the money to purchase gifts for her family. So along she went.
Little did she know she’d be entering the mansion of Jeffrey Epstein, a then 51-year-old financier with some creepy friends in very high places (Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein among them).
In Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a new four-part docuseries premiering on Netflix May 27, Licata is one of several Epstein victims who share their horror stories of being molested by the late convicted pedophile.
When she arrived, she says she was escorted to a room where Epstein was lying face-down on a massage table.
“He flipped over and was talking to me about, uh, the way that I looked. He was telling me how beautiful I was. I never thought I was the pretty girl in high school. I had braces, and for somebody to be pointing the spotlight at me, it was like, okay, he’s giving me compliments, and I never thought of myself that way,” she says in the film.
“And then he kind of was like grabbing my hip and maneuvering it so he could look at me. He was telling me to take off my shirt and pants,” she continues. “He’s like, ‘You could get down into your underwear.’ You know, you start thinking, ‘OK, if I try to leave’ or be like ‘Uh, no, we’re not gonna do this,’ you know, how would you leave? Like, is there a gun hidden somewhere that he was gonna pull out?”
Licata felt she had no choice but to give in to his demands. She says Epstein began fondling her breasts and body. He appeared to be masturbating.
“As a young girl, because he’s an adult, you just do what someone asks you to do,” she recalls. “He just looked like a scary sicko... I just still have the vision of his face.”
The teenager was paid $200 by Epstein. Licata, now 31, reported the incident to the Palm Beach Police in December of 2005, and would eventually be the first of eight victims interviewed by journalist Julie K. Brown for the Miami Herald. The investigative piece, “Perversion of Justice,” won a number of awards and ultimately helped lead to Epstein’s arrest on sex-trafficking charges in July 2019, as well as the resignation of Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta.
Watch Licata tell her story in this exclusive clip from Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich: