We've heard from Jennifer Araoz before, just not quite like this. The 32-year-old went public with her accusations against Jeffrey Epstein in July. But on Wednesday she filed suit against his estate and four alleged accomplices—and she's out with an opinion piece in the New York Times detailing her claims. Titled "I Was Raped by Jeffrey Epstein When I Was 15," Araoz begins at the beginning: entering Epstein's Upper East Side mansion for the first time as a 14-year-old in 2001 and spotting all his security cameras. "They were hard to miss. Inside the front door, he had small TVs playing the footage in real time. ... The message was clear: I was in the house of someone important and I was being watched." More:
- She repeats what she shared previously: That she was approached by "one of Epstein's recruiters" outside her performing arts high school and told Epstein could help her with her career and help her family out financially (her father had recently died). "The trap was set," she writes.
- "Benign" visits during which she and Epstein chatted for an hour or two and that ended with his secretary giving her $300 "supposedly to help my family" escalated. "Within about a month, he started asking me for massages and instructed me to take my top off. He said he would need to see my body if he was going to help me break into modeling. I felt uncomfortable and intimidated, but I did as he said."
- She writes that he progressed to "sexually gratify[ing] himself and touch[ing] me inappropriately" during the massages. A little more than a year later he asked her to undress and mount him. She said no, and alleges he then raped her. She never went back, transferred schools out of fear of seeing him, ultimately dropped out, and never pursued her acting dreams.
- As for why she's suing now, it's because she legally can. New York's Child Victims Act went into effect on Wednesday; it permits victims to bring a civil case against their alleged sexual abusers until they are 55. NBC News reports that for the next 12 months, victims who were allegedly abused as children can file suit regardless of their age.
- The New York Post reports Araoz's suit, which was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, accuses four women of enabling Epstein or doing nothing to stop him. Only Ghislaine Maxwell is named; the other women are referred to as a "recruiter," "secretary," and "maid."
- CNBC has lines from the suit related to Maxwell, who the suit alleges "participated with and assisted Epstein in maintaining and protecting his sex trafficking ring, ensuring that approximately three girls a day were made available to him for his sexual pleasure." Maxwell is also accused of hiring recruiters, handling scheduling, and "intimidating potential witnesses." Araoz's lawyer says deposing Maxwell will be "very important."
- Araoz is seeking punitive and compensatory damages.
(It's unclear where Ghislaine Maxwell is, however