Alleged rape victim sues Epstein estate, Britain’s Maxwell

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(FILES) In this file undated handout photo obtained July 11, 2019 courtesy of the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. - Jeffrey Epstein is on suicide watch after he was found semi-concious in his cell on the evening of July 24. Epstein, 66, was charged on July 8, 2019 by prosecutors in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by HO / New York State Sex Offender Registry / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / NEW YORK STATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY/HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

A woman who says Jeffrey Epstein raped her when she was a teenager sued for damages Wednesday as US media reported the disgraced financier’s prison guards were asleep instead of checking on him before his apparent suicide.

Jennifer Araoz, now 32, filed a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and three other unidentified accomplices under a New York law that has just taken effect.

In the filing, seen by AFP, Araoz said she was recruited at 14 by a stranger outside her high school who said Epstein could help her financially and boost her career.

Araoz said Epstein, who was found dead in his prison cell on Saturday as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges, showered her with gifts and then began demanding massages.

She added that the convicted sex offender, who hobnobbed with numerous politicians and celebrities over the years, repeatedly sexually assaulted her before raping her on her final visit to his house when she was 15.

Araoz filed the lawsuit in a state court in Manhattan, in the first known civil case against the wealthy hedge fund manager’s estate under New York state’s new Child Victims Act.

She said Epstein’s crimes were facilitated by Maxwell — a British-born socialite and daughter of the late, disgraced fraudster and media mogul Robert Maxwell — and three other women she described as the “recruiter,” “secretary” and “maid.”

“For years I felt crushed by the power imbalance between Epstein, with his enablers, and me,” she wrote in a New York Times column.

“I’m angry he won’t have to personally answer to me in the court of law. But my quest for justice is just getting started,” Araoz added.

The law, which extends the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sex abuse, is expected to trigger a wave of lawsuits against Epstein and accused abusers in separate cases.

According to prosecutors, Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teens, some as young as 14, at his homes in Manhattan and Florida, between 2002 and 2005.

He denied the charges but faced up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.

Epstein, a multi-millionaire who counted Britain’s Prince Andrew and Donald Trump as friends, was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

The FBI and Justice Department is investigating how America’s most high-profile remand prisoner apparently managed to take his own life just weeks after an earlier reported suicide attempt.

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