One of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers is suing his longtime associate and accused accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell and three other members of his household staff in the first lawsuit of its kind since the accused serial sex trafficker died by apparent suicide in his New York jail cell Saturday. Jennifer Araoz has accused Epstein of raping her when she was just 15 years old. She says Ghislaine Maxwell and the other unnamed staff members facilitated the abuse. It is one of the first lawsuits to be filed under New York’s Child Victims Act, which takes effect today.
Meanwhile, questions are mounting surrounding Epstein’s death. The warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan has since been reassigned, and two guards who were tasked with monitoring Epstein were put on leave. Reports emerged Tuesday that the guards may have been sleeping during their shift, failing to check on Epstein for three hours and then falsifying time logs. They were supposed to check on him every 30 minutes. The facility, which has housed many high-profile prisoners, has been plagued with reports of understaffing, overcrowding and dire conditions for years. Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán called the prison “torture.” The FBI, the Justice Department and the House Judiciary Committee have launched investigations into Epstein’s death.
In related news, the FBI has raided Jeffrey Epstein’s private Caribbean island. The FBI search is being overseen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr assured Epstein’s accusers that the case against Epstein would not end with his death and that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”
Meanwhile, a flurry of speculations arose after it was revealed that a 4chan user posted about Jeffrey Epstein’s death 38 minutes before the news became public on media outlets. The poster revealed information surrounding the death suggesting they may have been a first responder or otherwise present at the scene when Epstein’s body was first discovered. The New York City Fire Department said they investigated the case and determined the information did not come from within their department.
Epstein claimed a net worth of more than half a billion dollars when asking to be released on bail, but lawyers for his accusers say they suspect his net worth to be much higher, and they will look to offshore bank accounts and Epstein’s closest allies, including his brother Mark, for additional assets. The Wall Street Journal reports the brothers are connected financially through investments in a 200-unit condo building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Lawyer Lisa Bloom told the Journal, “We’re just getting started.” Click here to see our 2013 interview with Mark Epstein — on an unrelated issue. At the time, he was chair of the board of trustees of Cooper Union.