MANHATTAN (CN) – A woman who says Jeffrey Epstein began sexually abusing her when she was just 14 filed suit Wednesday against the late sex offender’s estate and alleged accomplices, invoking a law that just took effect in New York for child sex abuse survivors to seek civil damages.
A Queens native represented by the Kaiser Saurborn law firm, Jennifer Araoz filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court. She is 32 today but says she was just a freshman in high school when a young recruiter for Epstein lured her to the billionaire financier’s Upper East Side mansion in late 2001 with promises that Epstein could get her into modeling.
Araoz says Epstein quickly began grooming her in these visits, giving her money and compliments while chipping away at her modesty. After cajoling a topless Araoz into giving him a massage, according to the complaint, Epstein started to masturbate, giving instructions to Araoz until ejaculating on himself.
The sexual encounters continued weekly, becoming increasingly more aggressive, until Araoz says Epstein raped her when she was 15.
Araoz allegedly cut off contact with Epstein then and stayed quiet about her abuse for years. That changed last month when federal prosecutors brought a massive sex-trafficking indictment against Epstein in New York, responding to public pressure over revelations that the Department of Justice had cut a sweetheart plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein back in 2008 on allegations that he prostituted underage girls to some of the most powerful men in the world.
A day before Epstein was found dead in his jail cell — officials have called it an “apparent suicide” — the Second Circuit unsealed explosive testimony that addresses Epstein’s ties to President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, financier Glenn Dubin, model scout Jean-Luc Brunel and former Senator George Mitchell, among others, all of whom deny any impropriety.
In addition to Epstein’s estate, Araoz seeks damages from accused Epstein recruiter Ghislaine Maxwell. A lawyer for Maxwell did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday; according to an office receptionist, all media requests were being referred straight to the voice mailbox of Haddon Morgan Foreman attorney Ty Gee.
Araoz’s suit is one of hundreds, possibly thousands, expected to be filed today with New York’s simultaneous enactment of the Child Victims Act. The law includes a revival provision that gives survivors of childhood sexual abuse one year to file civil claims that have already lapsed under the previous statute of limitations.
Epstein’s lawyers have said he had about $559 million in assets, including the $77 million mansion, according to Reuters.
A lawyer Epstein did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.
In addition to her lawsuit, Araoz published an opinion piece Wednesday in The New York Times.