Jeffrey Epstein Accuser Sues His Estate, Staff Over Alleged Sexual Assaults

1 hour ago
Originally published on August 14, 2019 9:25 am

A woman in New York who said she was raped by Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier accused of sex trafficking, is suing his estate, an associate and members of his staff for their alleged involvement in the scheme.

"Today I am starting to reclaim my power," Jennifer Araoz, 32, told reporters.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday comes after Epstein's apparent suicide left victims questioning how they would receive justice.

Epstein preyed on her when she was a 14- and 15-year-old high school student in New York City, court documents allege. The lawsuit filed in New York County Supreme Court said a recruiter allegedly brought Araoz to Epstein's mansion in Manhattan, where the sexual abuse took place.

The lawsuit names Epstein's longtime confidante and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, saying she assisted and protected Epstein in a sophisticated sex trafficking ring.

"It is clear that Ms. Maxwell was a co-conspirator in the sex trafficking ring, it's clear she played an administrative role," whether or not she had contact with victims, attorney Dan Kaiser told reporters.

The suit also targets three unidentified women who worked for Epstein. They were labeled as a recruiter, a secretary and a maid.

Kaiser emphasized that Epstein had a network of enablers, including the wealthy and the powerful. "Without those enablers, it would not have gone on for as long as it did," Kaiser said. He said additional enablers will be named.

Maxwell's whereabouts are unknown. In a deposition in a separate case, Maxwell denied allegations that she helped Epstein acquire girls or young women, the Miami Herald reported.

Kaiser also said he did know the identity of the executor of Epstein's estate.

Kimberly Lerner, a victims' rights attorney for Araoz, praised her courage to come forward. "She has the resolve and the strength to help bring down the criminal enterprise and the conspiracy," Lerner said. She added that Araoz gave up her anonymity while Epstein was alive because she wanted other victims to know that they are not alone. She said Araoz had also lived in fear of Epstein.

Early Saturday, he was found unresponsive in an apparent suicide in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking of dozens of young girls.

"I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won't have to face his survivors of his abuse in court," Araoz said in a statement after his death. "We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed the pain and trauma he caused so many people."

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