A victim of Jeffrey Epstein who is suing his estate and his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell filed an amended complaint naming two other alleged accomplices in her abuse—both women who worked for Epstein’s companies in New York and beyond.
Jennifer Araoz, who was molested and raped by Epstein as a teenager, is targeting Epstein assistants Lesley Groff and Cimberly Espinosa in her lawsuit.
The lawsuit names a litany of Epstein’s corporations, including his secret charity Gratitude America Ltd and the companies that own his private jet and mansions, including JEGE, LLC; NES, LLC; and Nine East 71st Street Corporation. Longtime Epstein employees Richard Kahn and lawyer Darren K. Indyke—the executors of his estate—are named as defendants, too.
Araoz first came forward in July, days after Epstein was arrested for child sex-trafficking. In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Araoz said the financier began abusing her in New York when she was 14 and forcibly raped her when she was 15.
Araoz says a young woman recruited her into Epstein’s sickening orbit in 2001, when she was standing outside her performing arts high school—which was just blocks away from Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
The unnamed recruiter told Araoz she knew a “great guy” who believed in helping people, and the two women eventually visited Epstein’s palatial home.
Groff and Espinosa were employees Araoz met there, the lawsuit alleges.
Groff was in her 30s and Epstein’s “secretary” when she facilitated his child sex ring, the amended complaint alleges. According to court papers, Groff “was one of the people in charge of scheduling for all Epstein’s owned and/or controlled companies, foundations and trusts.”
An attorney for Groff recently told The Daily Beast that she never engaged in any misconduct during her tenure with Epstein.
Groff, now 52, lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is Facebook friends with Espinosa, according to a recent review of social media.
Espinosa, who lives in California, is also accused of coordinating Araoz’s visits to Epstein’s New York mansion.
The 52-year-old was listed in Epstein’s infamous Little Black Book of contacts under the business “Epstein Interests,” which was located at 457 Madison Avenue.
She even has the Epstein-related job experience listed on her LinkedIn page.
According to the online resume, she was “executive assistant to the president/CEO” of NES, LLC, a corporation registered in New York and which lists Epstein’s Virgin Islands address, from October 1996 to January 2003.
Espinosa indicates she was a “key contact for all business and personal communications for this high profile, high net worth Entrepreneur.”
Her duties included: “maintain all scheduling and appointments” and “recruited, managed and coordinated a staff of approximately 40 people for 7 personal estates worldwide, including executing background checks and confidentiality agreements.”
She also “manage[d] 11 corporate apartments, including guest arrivals,” her LinkedIn page states.
According to the amended lawsuit, when the recruiter first brought Araoz to Epstein’s mansion, they were taken to Groff’s office to wait. Epstein’s maid, Lynn Fontanilla, who died in 2016, then offered Araoz cheese, crackers and wine.
At the time, Araoz says, she informed Groff and Fontanilla she was a freshman in high school who had dreams of becoming a singer and actress.
Araoz claims she and the recruiter would drop by Epstein’s home about once or twice a week for the first month. During these visits, Groff would hand Araoz $300 in cash and say Epstein “wanted to help her out,” the complaint alleges.
But during Araoz’s visit alone with Epstein, the financier molested her after ordering her to remove her top and give him a massage.
Groff had contacted Araoz directly to schedule this first solo visit, which resulted in the sexual abuse, the complaint states.
“I’ll bet your body is incredible,” Epstein told Araoz after escorting her to the massage room, which was on an upper floor of the townhouse. “In order to help you with your modeling career, I will need to see your body.”
Epstein said she’d “do great” in the modeling industry and that his connections could help launch her career.
This visit quickly turned sexual, when Epstein told Araoz to take off her shirt and groped her chest.
“He then asked her if she was good at giving massages, and considering all of the financial help he had been giving her family over the past month, insinuated that he would like one,” the complaint alleges.
Epstein, who changed into a towel, laid on the message table and ordered Araoz to massage his back. After 20 minutes, he suddenly turned over, removed his towel and began masturbating.
Epstein paid her $300 in cash before she was escorted out of the mansion.
“Going forward, sometimes Epstein would call Ms. Araoz directly, but primarily Ms. Groff would call, email and/or page Ms. Araoz, not necessarily in that order, but they would speak on the phone and she would give her instructions for her next sexual encounter with Epstein,” the complaint alleges.
“There were also two assistants of Epstein that would call Ms. Araoz from Epstein’s office to schedule these sexual encounters,” the lawsuit states, adding: “One of those assistants was Ms. Espinosa, who Ms. Araoz would see at the property after speaking to.”
Araoz’s lawyers, Dan Kaiser and Kimberly Lerner, held a press conference Tuesday to announce the first amended complaint filed Tuesday.
Kaiser said Epstein’s corporate entities were now defendants because Epstein used them to “further the sex-trafficking conspiracy that extended over decades.”
He said Groff and Espinosa “were deeply involved in the scheduling of appointments” and “managing the flow of girls” into Epstein’s lair.
In a 2005 New York Times article on executive assistants, Epstein boasted of having a three-woman executive team that included Groff.
“Citing scientific studies, he calls them a ‘social prosthesis,’ whereby their intuitive knowledge of his needs and their 24-hour presence make them virtually indispensable to his success,” states the article, written by Landon Thomas Jr. (This year, it was revealed Thomas became friends with Epstein and solicited money from the multi-millionaire for a Harlem cultural center.)
“They are an extension of my brain,” Epstein told the Times. “Their intuition is something that I don’t have.”
The article states that when Groff became pregnant, he bought her a Mercedes-Benz and a full-time nanny so she wouldn’t stop working for him.
“There is no way that I could lose Lesley to motherhood,” Epstein said.
The complaint also seeks to void the transfer of assets Epstein made shortly before his suicide on Aug. 10, in order to shield them from claims made by victims, Kaiser said.
Kaiser said one key player in Epstein’s world, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, hasn’t responded to their original lawsuit against her.
The law firm’s investigators haven’t been able to track Maxwell down, and Maxwell’s attorneys in other civil cases “are not prepared to accept service on her behalf,” Kaiser said.
“We have reason to believe the FBI knows her location,” Lerner added, “so we may know sooner than later.”