Jeffrey Epstein accuser files lawsuit naming Ghislaine Maxwell, 3 unnamed employees as enablers

Jennifer Araoz claimed Epstein raped her as a teen.

August 14, 2019, 10:49 PM

Jennifer Araoz, who claimed Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was 15, filed a lawsuit naming Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell as his enabler, as well as three unnamed employees and Epstein's estate.

"Jeffrey Epstein's network of enablers stole from me. they robbed me of my youth, my identity, my innocence and my self-worth," Araoz said in a press teleconference along with attorney Dan Kaiser. "For too long they escaped accountability."

With this suit, Araoz is pursuing her wish for Epstein's alleged co-conspirators to be investigated in the wake of the millionaire sex offender's death by apparent suicide in jail.

"Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served," Araoz, 32, said in a statement on Saturday as news of his death broke. "I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims."

The lawsuit was filed in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, and the three unnamed people who worked for Epstein and were described in the court papers as the "recruiter," the "secretary" and the "maid."

ABC News reached out to Maxwell's attorney for comment, but has not received a response.

PHOTO: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at Cipriani Wall Street in this March 15, 2005 file photo in New York City.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at Cipriani Wall Street in this March 15, 2005 file photo in New York City.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image, FILE

The lawsuit comes after the Child Victims Act, a New York state law, went into effect at midnight Wednesday, allowing survivors of child sexual abuse from any time period to make civil claims, in spite of existing statutes of limitations, for a one-year period.

Maxwell has previously been named by another Epstein accuser as acting as an enabler and recruiter of young women and girls for Epstein. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was made a teen sex slave to Epstein and a victim of sex trafficking, alleged that she was directed by both Epstein and Maxwell to have sex with Epstein's friends and associates.

Giuffre sued Maxwell for defamation in 2015 after Maxwell denied Giuffre's claims in another lawsuit, but the case was settled prior to trial.

Maxwell has consistently denied Giuffre's allegations about her. "Ghislaine Maxwell did not participate in, facilitate, manage or otherwise conspire to commit sex trafficking" as alleged by Giuffre, her attorney wrote in a 2016 court filing.

Before the Epstein case broke open, Maxwell was a British socialite long associated with Epstein. She is the daughter of the late Robert Maxwell, a British press titan who died in 1991 and was later revealed to have embezzled funds from his employees' pensions and having mounting debt.

This lawsuit comes amid an increasing focus on Epstein's alleged co-conspirators in the wake of his death. Earlier this week, two unnamed accusers requested the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida invalidate the non-prosecution agreement Epstein made in 2007 that shielded Epstein from further prosecution and protected his alleged co-conspirators.

It is unclear when a judge will hear arguments on the non-prosecution agreement.

"The case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein," U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Monday.

Lawsuit filed against 3 Epstein-connected companies

Another new lawsuit was filed Wednesday evening in federal court in New York, this one by a woman identified only by the initials "V.E," who alleges that Epstein sexually abused her in his Manhattan mansion in 2001, when she was 16 years old.

Her lawsuit names as defendants three Epstein-connected companies -- with the expectation that other companies and Epstein’s estate, once established, could later be added as defendants as the case proceeds.

"Jeffrey Epstein was an officer, director, or employee of many corporate entities registered in various states throughout the United States,” the complaint states, "any one of which may also bear legal responsibility for the crimes he committed against young females, including minors such as [V.E.]."

One of the LLC’s named as a defendant was the long-time registered owner of Epstein’s mansion on New York’s upper east side. The other two companies employed Epstein and others, according to the complaint, which asserts one count of negligence against each entity.

"Defendants, at the direction of Epstein or in furtherance of his demands, and with help from assistants, associates and underlings, and even other victims, recruited or procured dozens if not hundreds of young females, including minors, for the purpose of Epstein’s sexual gratification," the complaint reads.

V.E alleges in the lawsuit that was she was recruited at 16 years old by a friend to go to Epstein’s house for a massage, which Epstein allegedly turned sexual.

"During the sexual encounter, [V.E.] told Jeffrey Epstein that she did not feel comfortable. Jeffrey Epstein ignored her and continued to engage in the improper and illegal sexual contact until he was finished," according to the complaint.

V.E. alleges she was paid $300 after the encounter to entice her to return, which she did on one other occasion, during which she alleges that Epstein’s sexual abuse of her was more severe, according to the filing by her attorneys, Stan Pottinger and Brad Edwards.

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