A new accuser has filed a class-action lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein’s estate, claiming the late sex-trafficker raped and assaulted her numerous times from 2017 through 2019—including at his homes in Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the months leading up to his arrest—after interviewing her on Skype and promising to aid her career.
The woman, a Russian national referred to as Jane Doe, also claims Epstein gave her a tour of his Palm Beach mansion and showed off a broken guitar, a gift he claimed was from his longtime friend, the disgraced director Woody Allen.
Doe’s complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday, also names Epstein’s veteran executive assistant Lesley Groff as a defendant. Groff helped to facilitate Epstein’s sex ring, the suit claims, by “purchasing plane tickets, sending money, making appointments, and sending various communications from New York.”
According to the complaint, Doe was in her early twenties and living in Moscow when Epstein targeted her in 2017, and she soon learned she wasn’t alone. The multimillionaire sex-offender also “fraudulently lured dozens and dozens of women from Russia and elsewhere in Europe into his orbit using false promises of career,” the suit alleges.
“For the next two years—presumably in the middle of his being investigated by federal law enforcement officials and up until his widely-reported arrest in July 2019—Epstein, with Groff’s assistance, repeatedly trafficked Jane for his personal sexual use and abuse, fraudulently promising her assistance with her work and career to further lure her to Paris, Florida, and the Virgin Islands, including through New York,” the filing states. “Epstein continued to use Jane as an object for his sexual gratification.”
Lawyers for Groff, who has denied playing any part in Epstein’s trafficking scheme, told The Daily Beast they’re “confident” the suit will be tossed. “This lawsuit should never have been filed,” Michael Bachner and Jon Whitcomb said in a statement. “It does not contain a single factual allegation that Lesley in any way knowingly engaged in any wrongdoing or was aware of any misconduct committed by Jeffrey Epstein.”
Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether investigators with the Southern District of New York have interviewed Doe. Her attorney, Gloria Allred, told us: “My only comment is that we look forward to proving these claims and seeking justice for all of the women abused by Epstein who are members of this proposed class.”
The lawsuit paints a disturbing picture of Epstein’s continued pattern of preying on young women even after the Miami Herald’s explosive investigation into his lenient treatment by the feds cast his sex crimes back into the national spotlight.
Doe says several Epstein employees, including a Russian assistant identified only as “Woman 1,” worked together to bring her into the money manager’s sex ring in August 2017.
At the time, Doe was a university student in Moscow and applied for a job as a personal assistant at a financial firm. Someone affiliated with Epstein then contacted Doe via WhatsApp from an unknown number and linked her to a Russian woman, who asked Doe to submit her résumé, Instagram account, and photos of herself.
Doe later joined a Skype call with Woman 1, who told Doe the opportunity “was not merely a job, but an ‘investment’ in herself, and an opportunity to build a successful career” and invited her to fly to Paris for another interview with the mysterious employer.
Once Doe arrived in France, Epstein sexually assaulted her, after bringing her and three other young women including Woman 1 to a restaurant connected to the Louvre Museum, the lawsuit says. After the encounter, Doe says, Epstein called her into an office where he berated her for being “closed” to new opportunities. “He said that if she wanted to achieve anything, she should do what he told her to do, implying that the wealth and power he had were the result of his own genius and she could be part of it if she just followed his directions,” the lawsuit says.
The filing also alleges that when Doe visited Epstein’s Paris home, she “personally observed that Epstein’s Skype call log reflected a long list of recent calls with women, the majority of whom had common Russian first names.”
In the following weeks, Epstein frequently texted Doe and held video chats over Skype from his home in New York. (In a separate civil case filed early this year, another accuser referred to as Jane Doe XX alleges Epstein abused her from 2014 through 2018, after meeting her over Skype for a job interview and inviting her to New York.)
The financier continued to pledge that he’d pay for Doe’s education and cited supposed success stories of his other assistants, saying one was learning Chinese in Hong Kong and another was attending school in Tokyo on his dime.
In September 2017, the suit alleges, a longtime employee of Epstein’s New York office named Bella Klein wired Doe 2,000 euros so she could obtain an American visa. Two months later, Doe was flown into Palm Beach, where she says Epstein raped and abused her.
“Jane had traveled to Florida under the impression that she would meet some of Epstein’s employees in Florida so they could show her the work she was to do. But she was never given any specific work to do,” the lawsuit says. “Instead, when Epstein was not raping or otherwise forcing sexual acts on her, Jane found herself just sitting around, not understanding what she was supposed to be doing.”
On one occasion, Epstein allegedly showed Doe pornographic videos and told her “she needed to learn” how to service him. The trafficker then claimed that he dispatched other women in his circle to Turkey for lessons on how to perform sexual massages on men.
According to the lawsuit, Epstein was angry because Doe “was not more enthusiastic and playful” while massaging him and had refused his sexual demands. The financier also criticized Doe for not being attentive to his needs, including learning how he likes his coffee. “He told Jane that she had bad energy, and he became brusque and rude towards her,” the filing states.
Even after Doe returned to Moscow, Epstein and his associates continued to pressure her to return to his orbit. On Skype, Epstein asked Doe to send him nude photos and “threatened that there would be negative consequences if she did not,” the document says.
In summer of 2018, an Epstein employee referred to as Woman 3 called Doe and said she was in Moscow. Doe agreed to meet Woman 3, who again tried to coax her into Epstein’s clutches. That September, Woman 3 again contacted Doe after monitoring her Instagram account and learning she was in France for a conference.
Doe returned to Epstein for help later that year, when she’d launched a new business that desperately needed funding. She reached out to woman 3 to see if Epstein could cover her airfare and lodging in New York.
The employee arranged yet another Skype call, during which Epstein unleashed “enormous anger, chastising Jane for having treated him poorly and having ‘run off’ on him and ‘ignored’ him.” Epstein then propped himself up as “a nice and good person” who was willing to help her, the lawsuit says. “He made it clear that she was in debt to him for his magnanimity and forgiveness, and said she would have to do something for him,” the complaint adds.
The lawsuit says Epstein arranged for Doe to stay at an apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where he frequently housed young women, and Groff purchased a plane ticket and sent it to Doe. But upon arriving in New York in December 2018, Epstein immediately trafficked Doe to Florida and ordered her to stay inside his home and to make sure no one saw her if she ventured outside.
Throughout January and February 2019—when a federal court and the media were busy scrutinizing Epstein’s controversial 2008 plea deal—Epstein repeatedly pressured Doe to recruit other girls and women into his sex ring. She refused, the lawsuit says.
About a month or two later, Epstein flew Doe to his private isle in the U.S. Virgin Islands and abused her. She “was given strict instructions that she should never take any photographs at any time while on this trip, not even photographs of the view from the island, with no one depicted,” the complaint states. “Jane was also told she must never take any photo with Epstein in it. She soon realized the seriousness of this rule, when she tried to take a selfie on the beach a few days later and was reprimanded. She began to realize that Epstein was not only very powerful, but also very concerned about protecting himself and keeping his activities a secret.”
During that trip to the Caribbean compound, the lawsuit says, Epstein assaulted Doe and another woman at the same time.
Doe alleges she saw Epstein for the last time in Paris in 2019, when the financier offered to help her with a dental problem and told her to contact Groff for an appointment with a New York dentist. According to the filing, Groff arranged for Doe’s appointment and airfare.
The lawsuit says Doe had no contact with Epstein or his underlings after his arrest in July 2019. At the time, Doe was living in London and “saw Epstein’s face and name everywhere, particularly because of the connection to Prince Andrew,” court papers allege.
“Even after Epstein’s death was widely reported,” the complaint adds, “Jane has had difficulty believing that he is really dead, and for a long time kept anxiously expecting him or someone connected to him to contact her.”