A woman who claims that she was sexually abused "countless times" by the late wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein — beginning when she was just 14 years old or younger — sued the executors of Epstein's estate in federal court Wednesday.
The woman, now in her early 30s, says in her lawsuit seeking unspecified monetary damages that she is one of several women whose claims about Epstein led to his indictment on federal charges of child sex trafficking in July by prosecutors in Manhattan. The civil complaint is at least the sixth suit to be filed against Epstein's estate since his death in August.
Epstein, 66, died while being held without bail in a federal jail in Manhattan. Authorities said the former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, as well as with Britain's Prince Andrew, hanged himself in his cell.
He had pleaded not guilty in the case at the time of his death, which came weeks after he was placed on suicide watch for several days after being found semi-conscious with marks on his neck in his cell.
Epstein left behind an estate that could be worth more than $500 million.
The woman identified in the new civil complaint against his estate only as pseudonym "Jane Doe" says she was introduced to Epstein through a teenage girl in 2002.
At the time, "Doe" was having a "difficult childhood," which included being raised primarily by a single mother, financial strain and a sister with serious medical conditions.
"The girl told Doe about an opportunity to earn money and offered to introduce her to a wealthy man," the suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says. "Doe would subsequently learn that this man was Epstein."
At the time, Doe was living with "a rotating case of friends," the suit says.
When the other girl took her to Epstein's Upper East Side mansion, Doe thought it "looked like a castle in the fairytale 'Beauty and the Beast,' one of her favorite Disney movies at the time," the suit says.
The complaint goes on to describe Epstein's abuse of the girl under the pretense of getting a "massage" which over successive visits escalated, becoming "more invasive, violent, and painful."
"All told, Doe was sexually assaulted by Epstein countless times over the course of three years," claims the lawsuit, whose named defendants are Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, who have been appointed executors of Epstein's estate.
"While Epstein physically and emotionally hurt and exploited Doe, a vulnerable young girl, she also became financially dependent on him," the suit said.
"She stopped attending school and spent almost all her time 'working' at his home, gratifying him sexually, or bringing other girls to do the same."
The complaint says her abuse at Epstein's hands was "directly and indirectly facilitated by his co-conspirators," who, "upon information and belief," were his female assistants, Sarah Kellen and Lesley Groff.
The suit says that "Kellen and Groff often asked Doe to being other girls with her to Epstein's home," including girls "who Epstein had assaulted before."
The woman says she has post-traumatic stress syndrome and other serious emotional issues as a result of Epstein's abuse.
Her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, in an emailed statement said, "We are so proud to represent our courageous client, and are committed to ensuring that justice is done."
"Although Mr. Epstein can no longer be held to account for his crimes, we will ensure that his Estate is held responsible for what he did," Kaplan said.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are continuing to investigate the criminal case, noting that Epstein had alleged conspirators who provided him with a stream of dozens of underage girls to sexually abuse from 2002 through 2005 in New York and at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein fell under investigation by state and federal authorities in Florida in the mid-2000s for his habitual contact with young girls at his Palm Beach property and elsewhere.
He eventually reached a deal with federal prosecutors in Miami, who agreed not to bring serious federal felony charges against him in exchange for his agreement to plead guilty in 2008 to less-serious state charges, including procuring a prostitute under the age of 18.
Epstein, who served 13 months in jail for that state case, also was required to register as a sex offender for life.
The non-prosecution deal with prosecutors in Florida in 2007 also covered a number of Epstein's alleged co-conspirators, among them both Kellen and Groff, the lawsuit noted.
Groff's lawyer, Michael Bachner, last month issued a statement denying she was involved in Epstein's alleged crimes.
"Lesley Groff worked as an executive assistant in Jeffrey Epstein's business office, along with attorneys and other executives," Bachner said in the statement. "Ms. Groff never knowingly booked travel for anyone under the age of 18, and had no knowledge of the alleged illegal activity whatsoever. She is shocked and deeply distraught by the accusations and revelations concerning her former employer."
Controversy over the non-prosecution deal erupted in July after Epstein's arrest on the federal indictment in New York, whose allegations largely mirrored what federal prosecutors in Miami were investigating more than a decade earlier.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said after Epstein's indictment that the new charges were not barred by the non-prosecution deal Epstein struck in 2007 with Alex Acosta, the then-U.S. Attorney in Miami.
— Additional reporting by CNBC's Jim Forkin