Jeffrey Epstein (center) appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla., July 30, 2008. (Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via Reuters)
The first accuser to sue the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, the late billionaire accused of raping and sex trafficking minors, filed her lawsuit Wednesday in New York, aided by a new state law.
Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Epstein of grooming and then raping her when she was just 15 years old, sued his estate and several associates the first day she was able to under the law, the Child Victims Act, which suspends for a year the statute of limitations for civil cases concerning child sexual abuse.
“Standing up to the entrenched network of power and wealth that surrounded Epstein is scary, but I am no longer afraid. Reliving these experiences is tough, but I’ve learned to be tougher,” Araoz wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday.
Araoz claims one of Epstein’s “recruiters” approached her outside her performing-arts high school and offered to introduce her to him, promising that he could help her modeling and acting career and provide financial assistance to her family, which was on food stamps at the time after her father’s death.