One of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers sued his estate and girlfriend on Wednesday, alleging the sex offender’s employees facilitated her “brutal rape” at age 14 inside his Manhattan mansion.
Jennifer Araoz’s lawsuit names Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime girlfriend and alleged madam, as well as three unnamed staffers referred to as the “Recruiter,” the “Secretary,” and the “Maid.”
Araoz is the first to file a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate after the financier died of apparent suicide on Saturday in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. The lawsuit filed in a New York court came hours after the state’s new Child Victim Act took effect, which extends the statue of limitations to file civil cases for alleged sexual abuse of minors. (NBC News was first to report the filing.)
Araoz, 32, alleges that Epstein sexually assaulted with increasing violence beginning in 2001.
She alleges that Maxwell and Epstein’s employees were the facilitators of the abuse, from recruiting Araoz outside of her high school blocks away from Epstein’s home to summoning her there when he wanted to abuse her.
Araoz paints a disturbing picture of the intricate grooming process Epstein and his cohorts are alleged to have engaged in to first gain her trust and then eventually carry out a brutal sexual assault.
She said she was first approached by a woman acting on Epstein’s behalf when she was 14 and attending the Talent Unlimited High School, where she studied musical theater with an eye to becoming a Broadway performer.
The woman who approached her, who she describes in the complaint as “the Recruiter,” called Epstein a “caring guy” and “someone good to know.” Araoz says the Recruiter described him as a father figure. The Recruiter then told her she “should not be struggling” and that Epstein wanted “to be there for her.”
In the documents, Araoz outlines the first time she entered Epstein’s New York mansion. “The marble floors with extremely high ceilings, mahogany wood with deep reds, and was filled with exotic, even endangered animals, including a giraffe and other rare specimens,” the complaint states. “There were skins covering parts of the floor with more exotic animals.” He did not show her the massage room on her first visit.
She was taken to a waiting room and offered cheese, crackers, and wine. The woman she describes in the complaint as the “Secretary” sat behind a desk. She could see a trophy room filled with large stuffed wild game and a self-portrait of Epstein on a wall with a young girl she says Epstein told her he considered to be “like a daughter.”
When Epstein came in, he handed the Recruiter a gift, which was a digital camera. She turned to Araoz and said, “You see what I mean? He's such a nice guy.”
When she left, Epstein handed her $300 in cash, she said. “Here’s a little something to help you out,” he told her, according to the complaint. “I take care of the people I care about.”
Araoz, who had just lost her own father to AIDS, says she was looking for a father figure and when Epstein told her he was “a big AIDS activist” she trusted him.
The next time she was invited to the mansion, Epstein gave Araoz the same type of digital camera he had previously gifted the recruiter. From that point on, Araoz said she visited Epstein “once or twice a week for the first month.” Each time she stayed an hour or two and Epstein told the Secretary to give her $300, she claims. Each time, the woman she refers to as the Maid in the complaint offered them cheese and wine.
A month after her first visit, Araoz says she visited Epstein’s home alone. That is the first time he showed her the massage room. She remembers the murals and high ceilings with paintings depicting ancient Rome, Greece, and the Sistine Chapel.
“I want to show you something now,” he told her on her first solo visit. “I love this room. It’s my favorite room in the house.”
She says the ceiling was painted with clouds and angels to look like the sky “to give the appearance that you were in heaven.”
It was then that she says he told her she was beautiful and told her he liked women with small breasts like she had. “You should really be a model,” he told her, according to the complaint. “I’ll bet your body is incredible. In order to help you with your modeling career, I will need to see your body.” Araoz said she did as she was asked, even though it made her “uncomfortable and confused.”
He then asked her to undress down to her panties and give him a massage. The complaint states that she remembers Epstein having “a lot of birthmarks and/or freckles on his back.”
Between 20 and 25 minutes into the massage, Epstein rolled over and began masturbating in front of her until he ejaculated on himself, the complaint states. She said it was then that she noticed that Epstein also had birthmarks and freckles around his genital area. She says that he then instructed her to give him a hand job and he ejaculated on himself once more.
The complaint states that Epstein warned Araoz not to tell anyone about the sexual encounters, which then became part of her visits. “These sexual encounters with Epstein, which of course were horribly abusive sexual assault of a child, became more aggressive and escalated,” the complaint states. The assaults are alleged to have continued once or twice a week throughout her freshman year of high school and into her sophomore year. Each time, the Secretary would leave $300, she said. Eventually, the maid would lead Araoz directly to the massage room and lay out towels and lotions and tell her to get undressed, the documents state.
Sometime during her sophomore year, she says Epstein forcibly raped her after first trying to entice her to have sex with him during a massage. She said he did not use a condom. Araoz then left school and transferred to a different school where she would not be as close to Epstein’s home.
In July, Araoz told NBC News that at first she trusted Epstein. “It didn’t do anything for me not to trust him, I felt totally fine going there,” she said. “I really didn’t know what it was. I really didn’t ask any questions.”
At the time of the interview, Araoz said she didn’t blame anyone. “Yes, when it comes down to it, there’s a lot of people that you could point fingers and blame, you know, but I’m not blaming anybody,” she said. “I’m sure they knew, though. That’s more on their conscience.”
Aroaz alleges that Maxwell provided “organizational support to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, identifying and hiring the recruiters of underage girls for Epstein’s sexual pleasure, scheduling appointments with these underage girls for Epstein’s sexual pleasure.” She also accused the 57-year-old socialite of “intimidating potential witnesses to Epstein’s sex trafficking operations, and generally providing administrative oversight of his sex-trafficking operation and ensuring it remained secret.”
“I was just a lost kid, you know,“ Aroaz previously told NBC News in July, holding back tears.