Les Wexner, the founder of L Brands who lives in New Albany, has issued his first statement about his connections to financier Jeffrey Epstein who is facing federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, accused of sexually abusing young girls. In previous reports, a woman has said Epstein sexually assaulted her at Wexner's New Albany mansion in the 90s, when she was a teenager.
In a statement emailed to employees today, Wexner says he cut ties with Epstein 12 years ago, and would have never continued to work with him if he knew what was going on.
The statement went on to say "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." Wexner also says he regrets ever crossing paths with Epstein.
Federal prosecutors have labeled Epstein, who is a convicted sex offender, a "serial sexual predator" and are urging a judge to keep him in jail, without bail, until the case goes to trial.
Full text of the Wexner's statement:
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. I severed all ties with Mr. 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. As you can imagine, this past week I have searched my soul reflected and regretted that my path ever crossed his.
When Mr. Epstein was my personal money manager, he was involved in many aspects of my financial life. But let me assure you that I was NEVER aware of the illegal activity charged in the indictment.
We all know that what is being reported about Mr. Epstein will receive significant news coverage. I fully expect that this will remain in the news for some time to come. And we don’t know what twists and turns these events will take but I can assure you that I will continue to act in the company’s best interest as this unfolds, and I ask you to do the same. I am proud that our company has long-held core values – those values have never been more important than today, and I ask that we all wave them higher now than ever before.