A woman from New Canaan who worked as an assistant to Jeffrey Epstein was named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims she was sexually abused for years by the now-deceased financier with the complicity of a group of his assistants and servants.
The lawsuit filed in a Manhattan court specifically names Lesley Groff adds new information to the case involving the New Canaan resident, who worked for many years for Epstein, a sexual predator who died by suicide in his jail cell in August.
A previous lawsuit filed in July by Jennifer Araoz cited “a secretary” as one of Epstein’s enablers, calling her “Jane Doe 2” without specifying her identity. The amended complaint filed Tuesday names Groff specifically, as well as other alleged enablers — a maid and another administrative assistant.
The lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by Araoz, now 32, is seeking compensation from Epstein’s estate and other corporate holdings.
“Every penny of his estate” should go to the victims, Araoz’s lawyer Dan Kaiser, told reporters Tuesday, according to NBC News.
The amended complaint filed Tuesday specifies Groff’s alleged involvement in a sexual-predation ring that Epstein engaged in for years. Araoz was 14 at the time Epstein’s abuse allegedly began.
“Primarily Ms. Groff would call, email and/or page Ms. Araoz and she would give her instructions for her next sexual encounter with Epstein,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit states that Groff “directly facilitated, as well as conspired with Epstein and the other co-conspirators, to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual offenses” committed against Araoz.
“The estate of Jeffrey Epstein, along with those who helped him perpetrate crimes of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape against Ms. Araoz, must be held responsible for ruining her life,” the suit contends.
Through her lawyer, Groff has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
“As an executive assistant to Epstein, Lesley worked as part of a professional staff that included in-house attorneys, accountants, an office manager and other office staff. Lesley’s job included making appointments for Mr. Epstein as directed by him, taking his messages, and setting up high-level meetings with CEOs, business executives, scientists, politicians and celebrities,” attorney Michael Bachner said in an email.
“At no time during Lesley’s employment with Epstein did she ever engage in any misconduct,” Bachner said.
Groff and the assistants were named in another civil lawsuit by another victim, Sarah Ransome, which was settled late last year with a financial package. In that lawsuit, it was stated that “Defendant Groff coordinated schedules between defendant Epstein and the various young females used for sex; made travel arrangements for the girls; tended to their living needs; and communicated with them in order to maintain their compliance with the rules of behavior imposed upon them by the enterprise.”
Groff was also cited in other court documents as one of Epstein’s “potential co-conspirators.” The secret non-prosecution agreement that Epstein secured in 2008 was revealed after a Florida judge determined it violated the rights of his alleged victims. The agreement gave immunity to Groff.
Epstein, who had been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, was indicted in 2007. He was eventually sentenced to 13 months in a county jail on two prostitution-related charges after agreeing to a plea deal. He was allowed to leave jail six days a week and go to his office as part of a work release program.
While the current case proceeds in civil court, criminal prosecutors have also been involved. Araoz’s lawyer said she had been interviewed by federal investigators probing the Epstein associates accused of helping him. The lawyer said this week that the FBI has scheduled two meetings with victims, in New York and Florida, for the end of October to update them on the status of the case, according to NBC.
In addition to Groff, the amended complaint specifically identifies Roslyn Fontanilla, a maid, and executive assistant Cimberly Espinosa, as defendants involved in Epstein’s abuse scheme. Fontanilla died in 2016.
Espinosa, living in southern California, did not return a message left on her cellphone Wednesday.
Also named in the previous court filing by Araoz was Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s close associate, whose whereabouts have not been publicly identified. Kaiser said she has not been personally served with the lawsuit filed by Araoz, and her lawyers have refused service of the court papers.
Epstein was found dead in his cell in federal lockup in Manhattan in August several weeks after he was arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges.