Watch CBS News

New lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein estate details sexual abuse and names alleged co-conspirators

A new lawsuit targeting the estate of Jeffrey Epstein names two women as co-conspirators in the sexual abuse allegedly experienced by the plaintiff when she was 14 years old. 

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by "Jane Doe," seeks to hold the estate liable for Epstein's actions, including sexual battery and sexual assault. Attorneys Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn are identified in the lawsuit as executors of Epstein's estate. The lawsuit also names Sarah Kellen and Lesley Groff as two Epstein employees who allegedly facilitated Epstein's sexual abuse of Jane Doe in a three-year period from 2002 to 2005.

The lawsuit describes Epstein's sexual assaults as following "the course of a methodical plan of recruitment, enticement, and attack" that "inflicted severe pain and anguish upon Plaintiff." The lawsuit gives explicit details of how Epstein allegedly engaged in sex acts with Jane Doe when she was underaged and manipulated her in a "scheme of exploitation and abuse." 

"All told, Doe was sexually assaulted by Epstein countless times over the course of three years," the lawsuit states. 

The lawsuit claims that Epstein's actions were "directly and indirectly facilitated by his co-conspirators," and it names two Epstein employees who scheduled Jane Doe's appointments to see Epstein and kept contact with her throughout the alleged abuse: "Upon information and belief, the assistants were Sarah Kellen and Lesley Groff," the lawsuit states.  

Groff and Kellen were both named as potential co-conspirators in the secret 2008 non-prosecution-agreement Epstein made with U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of Florida, then led by former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta

According to a February 2019 opinion by Judge Kenneth Marra, who has presided over legal challenges to the 2008 agreement, the deal included language saying: "The United States also agrees that it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein, including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova."

In the new lawsuit, Jane Doe details the roles played by the two alleged co-conspirators. "Kellen and Groff often asked Doe to bring other girls with her to Epstein's home. At times, Kellen and Groff directed Doe to bring with her specific girls who Epstein assaulted before, requesting them by name," the lawsuit states. "Doe was often paid by Kellen or Groff. Doe was also paid by Kellen or Groff whenever she brought other girls to see Epstein." 

Kellen and Groff were also named in a 2017 civil complaint filed by a different Jane Doe, which accused them and other defendants of having "profited from the sex trafficking" of an alleged victim.

Groff's attorney, Michael Bachner, denied the allegations. In a statement provided to CBS News, Bachner said: "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. At no time during Lesley's employment with Epstein did she ever engage in any misconduct."

There has been no statement by Sarah Kellen's attorney on the allegations. Kellen could not be reached for comment.  

Financier Teenage Girls
File photo of Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan townhouse. Bebeto Matthews / AP

A 2005 article in The New York Times described Groff as a valued assistant to Epstein. It said Epstein bought Groff a Mercedes-Benz car and paid for a full-time nanny so she could continue working for him, for a reported $200,000 annual salary. 

"There is no way that I could lose Lesley to motherhood," Epstein is quoted as saying in the article. 

"It comes down to the bond," Groff said in The Times article. "I know what he is thinking and I know when I need to be fast. It's a nice roll we are on."

Two days before he died in a suicide in a Manhattan jail cell, Epstein signed a will that put all of his holdings into a trust. Epstein's will claimed assets of more than $577 million

In August, a different woman, Jennifer Araoz, 32, filed a lawsuit against Epstein's estate in which she accused Epstein of sexual abuse and rape when she was 14. Araoz's lawsuits targets Epstein's longtime friend and associate Ghislaine Maxwell and three unnamed women who worked for Epstein in the early 2000s, claiming they "provided organization support for Epstein's sex trafficking ring" and "conspired with Epstein in the implementation and maintenance of his criminal enterprise." 

Maxwell has denied wrongdoing and has not faced any criminal charges.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.