Court papers detail how Jeffrey Epstein allegedly abused impoverished girls
World / 18 September 2019, 9:55pm / Devlin Barrett
Washington - A woman who says she is "Victim-1" in the New York indictment against deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein filed suit against the executors of his estate Wednesday, saying he abused her for three years beginning when she was a 14-year-old girl struggling to find a way to help her family pay rent.
The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, offers new details about Epstein's interactions with Victim-1, including specifics of the alleged crimes, and how her personal situation made her an easier target. The lawsuit was filed by the woman's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.
In court papers identifying her as "Jane Doe," she alleges Epstein recruited her to engage in sex acts in 2002, at a time when she was "in serious financial straits."
Her sister was sick, and the family had so little money that the girl was forced to move out, staying with "a rotating cast of friends and took odd jobs after school to try to help her family pay rent," according to the suit.
Around that time, an older girl brought her to Epstein's mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where he would pay her hundreds of dollars for massages that gradually escalated into sex acts with Epstein and others, according to the suit.
The abuse continued until she was 17, and she was sexually assaulted "countless times" in those three years, the lawsuit charges.
She also alleges that she was sexually assaulted by another Epstein employee. The lawsuit says she was brought into a bedroom with an adult woman she did not know and that, together, they engaged in sex acts with Epstein. The lawsuit also asserts that Victim-1 was frequently paid for her time with Epstein by two of his assistants.
Prosecutors have said they continue to investigate whether anyone connected to Epstein should be charged as co-conspirators. His accusers have focused, in particular, on Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's longtime associate, and other members of his staff.
The woman identified as Victim-1 still suffers from "severe mental anguish because of Epstein's abuse," the lawsuit said, noting she never finished high school, and her "physical and emotional injuries impact her daily functioning, making it difficult to go to work and take care of her young daughter and her ailing mother."
The suit was filed against Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, Epstein's longtime lawyers who were named in his will as executors of his estate. A number of other alleged victims of Epstein's abuse are suing or plan to sue Epstein's estate, which is valued at more than $577 million.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday does not specify how much money Victim-1 is seeking in damages.
Epstein, 66, was arrested in July when he arrived in New Jersey on a private jet. The sex trafficking charges filed against him were similar to ones in Florida that had been settled with a plea deal in 2008 that has since been criticized as alarmingly lenient. Prosecutors say Epstein recruited dozens of teenage girls to come to his homes and give him massages that frequently escalated to sex acts. He paid the girls hundreds of dollars for each visit, his victims have said.
About a month after his arrest, Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan. The charges he was facing carried a potential prison sentence of up to 45 years, and the city's medical examiner has ruled his death a suicide, saying he hanged himself. Epstein's lawyers have not accepted that finding, saying they are conducting their own investigation. Before he died, Epstein had pleaded not guilty to the sex trafficking charges.
The FBI and Justice Department are investigating the circumstances of his death to see if there were any crimes committed as part of the Bureau of Prisons' failures to keep Epstein alive while he was awaiting trial.