Elizabeth Stein also read an impact statement at the heiress’s sentencing, sharing that she was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and an intern at the now-defunct Henri Bendel department store in the 1990s when Maxwell lured her into Epstein’s trafficking ring.
Maxwell and Epstein, she said, began to traffic her to their high-powered friends, which led to her having an abortion. “I was assaulted, raped, and trafficked countless times in New York and Florida during a three-year period,” Stein said in court. “At one point I became pregnant (by whom I am unsure) and aborted the baby.”
Her claims are repeated in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, just before New York’s Adult Survivors Act is set to expire. The law allowed people to sue their alleged abusers during a one-year window regardless of the statute of limitations on their claims—and brought a wave of complaints against big names including billionaire Leon Black and Donald Trump.
The lawsuit, which names two executors for Epstein’s estate and Maxwell, is demanding damages that would be determined at trial.
The Daily Beast left messages for lawyers for Maxwell and the estate.
The complaint details that in 1992, when Stein was a teenager attending FIT, she began working at Henri Bendel. About two years into the job, when she was 21, Maxwell allegedly approached her at the luxury department store for assistance.
As Maxwell shopped, she allegedly claimed that her colleague was close friends with Les Wexner, whose Limited empire once owned Henri Bendel. The complaint states that Maxwell later asked Stein to deliver her purchases to the St. Regis on Fifth Avenue—where the concierge directed her to the bar. There, the complaint alleges, sat Maxwell and Epstein having drinks.
Stein ended up joining Maxwell and Epstein in a hotel room to deliver the packages. The complaint states at one point, Maxwell and Epstein changed into monogrammed bathrobes and pivoted the conversation to Stein’s “personal and sex life.” As they continued to discuss Stein’s then-boyfriend and drink, the complaint states, Maxwell and Epstein began kissing—and touching each other.
“Epstein and Maxwell asked [Stein] if she had ever participated in a ‘threesome,’ and she told them she had not,” the complaint states. “Maxwell then encouraged [Stein] to join them and assured her ‘it would be fun.’”
The complaint states that Stein was “hesitant and afraid of Epstein or Maxwell hurting her physically and professionally,” so she complied with their request. At one point, Stein allegedly asked to stop and was initially ignored before she said she needed to leave because her then-boyfriend was on his way to her house.
As she was leaving, Epstein “handed her cash and stated it was a ‘tip,’” the complaint states, a gesture that made Stein feel “confused, betrayed, humiliated, and completely violated.”
The incident began what is described as “a three-year nightmare” for Stein, where Maxwell and Epstein allegedly stalked her, sexually abused her, and trafficked her to their “friends.”
The complaint states that in 1994, Stein was offered to be Henri Bendel’s assistant manager of several departments, which she turned down to focus on her studies. Months later, Maxwell allegedly called Stein enraged because she turned down the job offer that “Maxwell and Epstein were involved in securing.”
After Stein graduated from FIT, she took a job at Bloomingdale’s in an attempt to evade Maxwell and Epstein’s crosshairs. But the complaint states that Maxwell came in just a few months later, and started “befriending” Stein again, including taking her out for lunch and shopping.
In the fall of 1995, Maxwell invited Stein over to Epstein’s home for a dinner party, where Stein allegedly found herself in a room with a massage table. The complaint states that Maxwell and Epstein forced her to “engage in sexual acts with others in the room.” Months later, Maxwell allegedly invited Stein to a New Year’s Eve party at the Waldorf Astoria and bought her a dress to wear.
Stein later learned that her “date” was Maxwell and Epstein, who at one point allegedly instructed her to have sex with them. The complaint states that when she resisted, the pair “became physically aggressive” with her, made fun of her for taking the subway to the party, and said they were “going to show her what a train is tonight.”
“Epstein then proceeded to vaginally, anally, and orally rape [Stein] while Maxwell restrainted [sic] her,” the complaint states.
Afterward, Stein was allegedly raped by another unknown man as she was held down by Maxwell and Epstein before they all went downstairs to the party. The complaint states that Stein eventually started vomiting at the party and left.
“To make up for the New Year’s sexual assault,” the complaint states, Maxwell gave Stein a Florida vacation. In Florida, Stein was taken to Epstein’s Palm Beach home, where she was sexually assaulted by the pool while other guests watched,” the complaint states.
The complaint states that at one point in Florida, Stein began to fight back and resist the abuse. That allegedly resulted in her being violently punished and sexually abused. Stein also was allegedly barred from leaving Florida for days, which ultimately led to her being fired from her job.
Soon after she returned home, she learned she had gotten pregnant by one of her abusers, the complaint states. Maxwell made her get an abortion, spiraling Stein into a “deep depression” that at one point caused “herself to crash her car.”
“Maxwell and Epstein did not let go of [Stein], however, and continued stalking her with repeated phone calls and cabled messages to her,” the complaint states. Stein was hospitalized several times even after the abuse ended in 1997.
Stein first spoke out about Epstein and Maxwell while attending the British socialite’s sex-trafficking trial in winter of 2021, watching the proceedings as a member of the public.
At the time, the Miami Herald reported that Stein waited in line starting at 4 a.m. to grab a seat at the high-profile trial in Manhattan federal court, commuting via a Greyhound bus from Philadelphia to New York. Because Stein wasn’t listed as a victim in the case, she wasn’t permitted seating reserved for survivors in court.
“We have to wait and wait to get in the back row of an overflow courtroom—and Maxwell’s sister and brothers are ushered into the courtroom every day like royalty,” Stein told the Herald in a December 2021 story. “It’s hard to understand why the family of an accused sex abuser gets a front-row seat when the victims can't even get into the courtroom.”
One day, Stein brought along a backpack with two items she says Maxwell and Epstein gifted her: Two Victoria’s Secret nightgowns and an Escada ball gown.
“These are secrets I kept for decades and couldn’t tell anyone,” Stein told the newspaper. “When Epstein was arrested and all over the news, I realized that it wasn’t just me. That’s part of the shame—you think these things just happened to you.”
Stein returned to Manhattan for Maxwell’s sentencing in June 2022 and read a victim impact statement alongside multiple other survivors of Epstein’s sex ring. (Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. She is serving time at FCI Tallahassee in Florida.)
Stein’s story was later featured in the Netflix documentary Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich.
“Things happened that were so traumatizing that to this day I’m unable to speak about them; I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe them,” Stein said in her statement read before the court. “In the most literal sense of the word, Epstein and Maxwell terrified me. They told me that if I told anyone, nobody would believe me and if they did, they would kill me and the people closest to me.”