While the precise circumstances that led to accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein being found semi-conscious in his cell last week are still not clear, the incident occurred not long after he was served with legal documents related to a lawsuit in which he was accused of raping a young girl.
Deputy Sheriff Qin Zhang personally delivered legal documents to Epstein’s cell on Monday, July 22, according to a CNBC report. While CNBC said this was the day before Epstein was found injured in his cell, NBC phrased it as a “day or two before.” The New York Times reported that Epstein was found on Tuesday, July 23. In any event, July 22 was two days before the public first learned about the incident (July 24).
According to CNN, the papers were “a verified petition, order to show cause, exhibits and supporting documents.”
Epstein’s accuser, Jennifer Araoz, 32, has alleged that she was first approached outside of school by an Epstein “recruiter” when she was 14 years old, beginning a year-long period of providing Epstein with massages, which she says gradually became more and more sexual over time. That was in 2001. Following each massage, Araoz says she was paid $300 cash. She claimed that after about one year, when she was 15 years old, Epstein raped her. She said Epstein did not wear a condom.
Araoz described strange things at Epstein’s residence–of which there are many–including a painting of a young naked woman that hung on the wall of Esptein’s “favorite room in the house.” In that room was a massage table. “When he first brought me up there, he was like, ‘You know, you remind me so much of this woman in the painting,’” she said.
“All the rooms were very grand and had a lot of artwork, a lot of murals on the walls,” Araoz said. Epstein allegedly asked Araoz about her hopes and dreams, and she revealed that she wanted to become an actress on Broadway.
Despite having all of the logistics in place already, Araoz will not be filed until at least Aug. 14. The disgraced financier could only be served with a draft of the lawsuit because technically the current statute of limitations on Araoz’s claims have expired. However, New York’s Child Victims Act goes into effect August 14 and grants child sexual abuse victims up to age 55 a one year window within which they can sue any former abuser, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.
In addition to the draft complaint, Araoz’s lawsuit also included a subpoena that would force Epstein to produce a list of all persons employed by him from the years 2000 to 2003, as well as a list of all persons who visited his New York City mansion from 2000 to 2003.
Araoz is also requesting permission from the court to depose Epstein in order to learn the identity of the young female “recruiter” who was responsible for initiating the “grooming” process that eventually led to her being repeatedly and systematically sexually assaulted, according to the New York Post. Once her identity is revealed, Araoz intends to sue both Epstein and the recruiter for their roles in the alleged abuse.
“Now that he has gotten notice and has been properly served with a petition he or his lawyer will now have to appear on Aug. 27 to explain to the court why she shouldn’t order his deposition and why she shouldn’t order him to produce all the discovery we asked for,” Araoz’s lawyer, Daniel Kaiser told the Post.
Along with “the recruiter,” two other unnamed co-respondents–“the maid” and “the secretary”–are named in Araoz’s lawsuit.
[image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]
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