Vicky Ward, the Vanity Fair contributor who profiled Jeffrey Epstein back in 2003, says even then it was obvious something was very off with the mysteriously well-connected Palm Beach sex offender.

Ward published an update of sorts today on the Daily Beast, discussing her 2003 profile on the financier— The Talented Mr. Epstein.But Ward says she heard about Epstein's proclivities years before police began investigating allegations of underage girls and sex slaves.

In fact, Ward says she interviewed a then-16-year-old Arizona girl who claimed Epstein had molested her and then bought her and her family's silence. The girl's mother told Ward she was afraid Epstein would hurt her or her family if they went public.

But Ward says Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter ultimately wouldn't print the allegations, explaining,"He's sensitive about the young women."

When I put their allegations to Epstein, he denied them and went into overdrive. He called Graydon. He also repeatedly phoned me. He said, "Just the mention of a 16-year-old girl…carries the wrong impression. I don't see what it adds to the piece. And that makes me unhappy."

Next, Epstein attacked both me and my sources. Letters purporting to be from the women were sent to Graydon, which the women claimed (and gave evidence to show me) were fabricated fakes. I had my own notes to disprove Epstein's claims against me.

And then there was Epstein himself, who, I'd be told after I'd given birth, got past security at Condé Nast and went into the Vanity Fair offices. By now everyone at the magazine was completely spooked.

A Vanity Fair spokeswoman reportedly said today, "Epstein denied the charges at the time and since the claims were unsubstantiated and no criminal investigation had been initiated, we decided not to include them in what was a financial story."

What else wouldn't the magazine print about Epstein's proclivities and mysterious fortune? According to Ward:

  • Epstein had a young female assistant call Ward to tell her Epstein thought she looked "so pretty."
  • Epstein was fired from Bear Stearns after he violated a securities regulation, but Bear Stearns' then-CEO James Cayne covered for him, telling Ward he left the bank voluntarily when his ambition "outgrew" the place.
  • Formalized insight into Epstein's relationship with The Limited's CEO Leslie Wexner: a contract witnessed by multiple people that gave him "carte blanche to insert himself into both Wexner's family and business affairs."
  • After the unflattering article came out, Epstein asked Ward, who was pregnant at the time, where she was giving birth in an apparently threatening manner.

Ward also claims to have, but does not disclose, "many other concrete, irrefutable examples of strange business practices by Epstein," who was "definitely not what he claimed to be."

[image via AP]