NEW YORK (AP) — Three women filed lawsuits Tuesday accusing Jeffrey Epstein of raping them or subjecting them to other forced sex acts, including one case while he was serving a Florida jail sentence that allowed him out to work during the day.
The lawsuits in Manhattan federal court were filed on behalf of women who remained anonymous. They sought unspecified damages, citing continuing psychological and psychiatric trauma, mental anguish, humiliation and more.
The lawsuits say two women were 17 and the third woman was 20 when they said they were sexually assaulted by Epstein. All said they were also coerced into giving Epstein sexual massages for years.
Each woman explained in separate lawsuits how Epstein entered her life and forever changed its trajectory. They said Epstein dangled his powerful connections to political and business leaders worldwide as he promised to boost their careers in exchange for sexual servitude.
The allegation that he kept on preying on women even as he had to report to jail every night added yet another disturbing twist to the story, underscoring what his accusers have long been saying — that his 13-month stint behind bars, worked out in a secret agreement with federal prosecutors, was a sham.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in his New York prison cell Aug. 10, a little over a month after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. He had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
His lawyers maintained that the charges were nullified by a non-prosecution agreement he reached with the federal government when he pleaded guilty in 2008 to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He served 13 months in jail, was required to reach financial settlements with dozens of his alleged victims and register as a sex offender.
Tuesday’s lawsuits are among a flurry of litigation expected to be filed against Epstein’s estate under a new state law that opened a one-year window allowing the filing of sexual abuse lawsuits once blocked by the statute of limitations.
Epstein’s lawyer declined to comment on Tuesday’s filings.
Court papers filed last week in the U.S. Virgin Islands show Epstein’s estate is worth over $577 million. He signed a will just two days before he killed himself.
In Tuesday’s lawsuits, each woman described how meeting a wealthy man with connections initially provided hope, but soon turned to horrors.
One woman said she was 17 and an aspiring dancer when an associate of Epstein convinced her in 2002 to teach a class at Epstein’s home.
Captivated by Epstein’s claims to close connections with New York City’s major dance companies, the woman by her third visit to his $77 million Manhattan mansion was convinced to provide a massage while naked to Epstein in return for $300 cash, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said Epstein continued assaults against her through 2010.
A second lawsuit told how another woman met Epstein in 2007 at age 17 when he promised to help her overcome an eating disorder and to pay for expensive surgeries she required.
On her first visit, the lawsuit said, she was sexually assaulted during a massage.
The lawsuit said Epstein was serving his jail sentence, which allowed him to go to work each day, when he corresponded with her to obtain sexually explicit photographs of herself and a female relative.
It said Epstein then convinced her to join the company where he worked, only to cause her to engage in commercial sex acts with Epstein at his “work release” office that included sexual intercourse.
“Jeffrey Epstein, through his brazen and powerful organization, was quite literally able to commit federal sex trafficking offenses at his work release office, during his jail sentence,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said the woman also had sex with Epstein in New York after his release from jail, but while he still wore an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.
The woman continued to have sex with Epstein through 2014, months after Epstein convinced her to get married to a woman who recruited other females for him because the woman otherwise could not remain in the United States, the lawsuit said.
In a third lawsuit, another woman, a dancer, said she was 20 when she met Epstein in 2006 when she was recruited by another young woman who had “fallen prey” to Epstein’s scheme.
The lawsuit said the woman was “very poor” and eager to support her mother when she agreed to provide Epstein massages in return for hundreds of dollars.