Ghislaine Maxwell: Jeffrey Epstein’s estate, staffers and confidante face new lawsuit

Chris Riotta

An alleged victim of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is suing his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell, as well as his estate and members of his staff after the disgraced financier died in an apparent suicide on Saturday.

Jennifer Araoz, who has said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Epstein between the ages of 14 and 15, has filed a lawsuit against Ms Maxwell, along with three unnamed female household staff members and the multi-millionaire’s estate.

Ms Maxwell and the staff members ”conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape” Ms Araoz said she experienced at Epstein’s $77m (£63.7) New York City mansion, she claims.

The lawsuit, which initially named Epstein, was amended to name his estate as a defendant after he was found unresponsive in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York and subsequently pronounced dead.

Ms Maxwell, the daughter of the late British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, has denied the allegations and did not face any charges in a controversial plea agreement Epstein made with prosecutors in 2007.

Epstein was allowed to serve just 13 months in a county jail that provided a daytime work release after he pleaded guilty to prostitution felonies in 2008. He was also forced to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors have had difficulty locating Ms Maxwell, the Washington Post reported, who has often been described as one of Epstein’s closest confidants.

His accusers say she was involved in all aspects of Epstein’s alleged trafficking, from arranging for girls to meet with him and members of his elite inner circle, to participating in the sexual abuse they allegedly suffered.

Ms Araoz was reportedly interviewed by FBI and other federal officials about her allegations against Epstein after he was indicted in July.

Several other women accusing Epstein of child sex trafficking and sexual assault have also named Ms Maxwell as his alleged co-conspirator.

The lawsuit was made possible due to new legislation in New York called the Child Victims Act, which went into effect the same day Ms Araoz filed her suit.

The new law allows any alleged child sexual abuse victims living in the state to file civil lawsuits over the next 12 months — no matter when the abuse took place.

Epstein's accusers have expressed frustration after his death in federal custody, with attorney general William Barr describing "serious irregularities" at the correctional centre where he was held. The guards assigned to watch him, who have since been placed on administrative leave, have been accused of falling asleep and falsifying records indicating they completed checks on his cell near the time of his apparent suicide.