One of Jeffrey Epstein’s first known victims is the last holdout against his estate.
Last January, a California woman identified as Jane Doe filed a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate and British heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, who is facing federal charges for allegedly recruiting girls into the financier’s trafficking ring.
The complaint accuses Epstein and Maxwell of grooming and sexually abusing Doe for years, starting when she was 13 years old. The former couple met Doe in 1994 at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. (The Daily Beast previously revealed Epstein was a donor to the prestigious school and stayed at a cabin he funded on the property.)
Doe also claims Epstein introduced her to Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago when she was only 14 years old. “This is a good one, right?” Epstein asked the future president, who allegedly smiled and nodded before sharing a chuckle with the depraved hedge funder. Doe’s lawsuit does not accuse Trump of any sexual misconduct.
Her lawyers say she’s the only survivor of Epstein’s abuse who has declined to stay her case in order to participate in the victims’ compensation fund, which opened for claims against Epstein’s $634-million estate in June. In recent court filings, Doe’s legal team accused the estate’s co-executors, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, of stonewalling her requests for discovery. They also claimed Maxwell’s lawyers have failed to provide initial disclosures by the court’s deadline.
Doe’s lawyer, Robert Glassman, claimed Epstein’s estate “repeatedly reminds [Doe] how she is the only victim who continues to pursue her case against them while the other victims have all agreed to stay their cases in hopes of resolving them through the victim compensation fund.”
The Epstein estate has “done everything they can to make these cases as difficult as possible for the victims so the victims feel like they have no real choice but to submit to the fund and postpone the proceedings indefinitely,” Glassman stated.
One Aug. 12 letter claimed Kahn’s attorneys had refused to provide dates for his future deposition: “Instead, they are insisting that [Doe’s] counsel first tell them what Mr. Kahn is to be questioned about and essentially prove why he—a defendant in this action—ought to be required to testify at deposition,” Glassman wrote in the letter to U.S. District Judge Debra Freeman. (Doe is also seeking to depose Maxwell and Indyke, court records show.)
“It has become incredibly obvious that there is a concerted and coordinated effort by the Epstein Estate and its attorneys to not only deprive the victims of information in these cases that they are entitled to by law,” Glassman added, “but also deny them of having their day in court.”
Doe, he said, “is not walking away.”
More than two dozen women filed state and federal lawsuits against Epstein’s estate, and they’ve agreed to pause their litigation while participating in the victims’ compensation program. If they accept the fund’s offer, they must dismiss their suits against the estate and related entities and individuals, including Maxwell.
Doe’s lawyers have referred to her as Maxwell’s and Epstein’s “first known victim” in court filings. But on Thursday, nine more women came forward anonymously in a new lawsuit with accusations dating back to 1978. One accuser alleges she was 13 when Epstein raped her that year, and another claims Epstein sexually abused her in 1993, when she was 11 years old.
According to her lawsuit, Doe was a voice student at Interlochen Arts Camp when Epstein and Maxwell approached her in 1994. (That spring, Interlochen’s newsletter announced the “Jeffrey Epstein Scholarship Lodge” was almost complete and was a gift from the “businessman from New York and a former Interlochen camper.”)
The creepy couple found Doe sitting alone on a bench between classes one day, and “Epstein bragged to her about being a patron of the arts and giving scholarships to talented young artists” like herself, the complaint alleges. “Epstein and Maxwell probed her at length about her background, family situation and where she lived.”
“As Doe got up to leave, Epstein requested her mother’s phone number back in Florida. She was alarmed by his request, but also feared that she could not refuse the older man’s request so she complied and provided him with the phone number.”
Epstein was hailed as a donor to the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a boarding school and summer camp whose famous alumni include Jewel and Norah Jones, in school newsletters. As The Daily Beast reported, Epstein bankrolled the scholarship lodge, a rental on campus that was stationed close to a junior girls’ camp, and held receptions for the school in New York.
Katharine Laidlaw, a spokeswoman for Interlochen, previously told us Epstein was allowed to use the lodge (which happens to be listed in his infamous rolodex) for up to two weeks a year per a funding agreement. She said Epstein last stayed at the cabin for a week in August 2000, and that the school cut ties with him following his 2008 conviction for soliciting underage girls in Florida.
Laidlaw did not return messages seeking comment on Doe’s lawsuit.
It’s unknown if Epstein and Maxwell preyed on any other girls at Interlochen. But their encounter with Doe changed the course of her life, resulting in years of sexual abuse and “unimaginable physical and psychological trauma and distress,” her complaint says.
“Throughout his life, Epstein systematically perpetrated acts of molestation, exploitation, assault and rape on hundreds of young girls,” the filing continues. “Epstein’s system of abuse was facilitated in large part by his co-conspirator and accomplice, Maxwell, who helped supply him with a steady stream of young and vulnerable girls—many of whom were fatherless, like Jane Doe, and came from struggling families.”
The lawsuit details how Epstein and Maxwell gained the trust of Doe’s mother and took Doe on shopping trips and to the movies as part of their plan to groom her for sex.
The accusations are similar to those in Maxwell’s indictment. In 1994, the document says, Maxwell and Epstein “attempted to befriend Minor Victim-1, taking her to the movies and on shopping trips” and asking the girl “about school, her classes, her family, and other aspects of her life.” They arranged for the victim to travel to New York and Florida, where she was abused by Epstein and Maxwell, prosecutors say.
Maxwell has denied any involvement in Epstein’s sex ring. Last month, she pleaded not guilty to four charges related to child sex trafficking and two counts of perjury. She faces 35 years in prison if convicted. Her trial is scheduled for July 2021.
One week after Maxwell’s July 2 arrest, her lawyer Laura Menninger filed an answer to Doe’s lawsuit, denying her accusations, calling the federal indictment “meritless,” and indicating the British socialite would respond “to the extent that she can without waiving the right against self-incrimination.”
It’s unclear whether Doe is Minor Victim-1 in Maxwell’s case. Doe’s lawyers declined to comment for this article.
After summer camp ended, Epstein called Doe’s mother in Florida and boasted of his mentorship of young students and providing scholarships for the arts. Epstein, who would refer to himself as Doe’s “godfather,” sent a driver to pick up Doe and her mother for a visit to his Palm Beach mansion soon after this conversation.
Over the next few months, Maxwell and Epstein allegedly worked to sexualize Doe. This included, according to the complaint, Maxwell telling Doe that she could always have sex with ex-boyfriends because “they’ve been grandfathered in and you could go back and fuck them whenever you wanted.” Epstein, the suit adds, “started to slowly display his pedophilic ways” by picking out children’s underwear for Doe during shopping trips.
Epstein handed Doe $200 to $300 after each visit, telling her to give the money to her mother, because “she’s having a hard time and struggling as a widow,” the lawsuit says.
Maxwell and Epstein allegedly pressured Doe to continue her visits with them, scolding her for being “ungrateful” if she stepped back. Epstein, who began to pay for her voice lessons, warned Doe her career wouldn’t take off without him.
Epstein began molesting Doe at the end of 1994, and the abuse continued for years at his homes in Palm Beach, New York and New Mexico. In 1996, when she was 16, Doe moved to a New York City apartment rented by Epstein. He later co-signed a lease for an apartment for Doe and her mother, the complaint alleges.
“Once Epstein had secured Doe in New York and made her and her family completely dependent on him financially (including, for the roof over their heads), Epstein’s abuse of Doe continued to escalate,” the lawsuit says.
Doe says that when she was 17, Epstein told her she should lose her virginity and “get it over with already,” so sex would be “good” once she had a boyfriend. During that conversation at his Manhattan townhouse, Epstein allegedly pushed Doe onto her stomach and raped her. Epstein would rape Doe multiple times in New York over several years, according to her complaint.
“During Doe’s time in New York, Maxwell also regularly facilitated Epstein’s abuse of Doe and was frequently present when it occurred,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit says Doe finally escaped Epstein’s abuse in 1999, when she moved to Los Angeles to start a career. “Despite Doe’s physical escape from Epstein and Maxwell, the years of abuse and exploitation perpetrated against her by them cause her immeasurable pain and suffering every day,” the complaint says.
In a memorandum filed in January, in support to proceed under a pseudonym, Doe’s lawyers said she “has worked diligently to protect her identity.”
“Indeed, despite numerous and ongoing attempts to interview her by the media and journalists, she has never spoken to the press or publicly identified herself in any way associated with her allegations,” her lawyers noted, adding that federal prosecutors “carefully protected her identity” in their case against Epstein.
They also said disclosing Doe’s name “could interfere with the Government’s ongoing investigation of Epstein’s associates.”
Throughout the pleadings in Doe’s case, her lawyers have sparred with attorneys for Maxwell and the estate, records show.
In a July 15 letter to Judge Freeman, Glassman said Doe provided over 190 pages of documents requested by Epstein’s estate, but the estate “failed to provide a single page of evidence to us” before a July 13 due date. The estate, Glassman alleged, promised to meet this deadline and claimed to have possession of documents “containing Jane Doe’s name and information.”
According to Glassman, the estate “was asked to identify and describe all interactions the coexecutors Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn (and Jeffrey Epstein himself) had with Jane Doe.” But instead the estate “feigned confusion about the word ‘interactions’ saying that it is vague and ambiguous and failed to provide any substantive response.”
Glassman also claimed the estate sought “largely irrelevant” and “outrageous” information from Doe, including documents related to medical procedures and consultations throughout her life, including while she was underage, “even if such medical care had nothing at all to do with Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of her.”
One day later, the estate’s counsel submitted a letter of her own, claiming Glassman’s missive “misrepresents what occurred” and that the parties needed to agree upon a confidentiality order before producing the documents. “That is for Plaintiff’s benefit,” wrote estate lawyer Mary Grace Metcalfe.
Meanwhile, Menninger wrote the judge on Aug. 12, claiming she needed more time to consult with Maxwell before filing pleadings in Doe’s case, because of supposed difficulties reaching her at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. “Oftentimes the calls are cut short by the MDC staff,” Menninger claimed.
Menninger then took aim at Glassman for “accusing me of violating a Court order” and claimed he hadn’t made required disclosures himself.
In a separate Aug. 12 letter, Metcalfe said Kahn’s personal lawyer asked during a recent call why Doe was pursuing his deposition since Kahn didn’t start working for Epstein until 2005—six years after Doe fled Epstein’s clutches. “Troublingly, Plaintiff’s counsel refused to state a reason or subject matter for Mr. Kahn’s deposition,” she wrote.
Metcalfe claimed Doe’s team indicated she “would not seek a stay” of the litigation “despite her intent to participate in the Victims’ Compensation Program.”
As of Friday, Doe has not submitted a claim against the estate.