First alleged victim to sue Epstein estate: 'My quest for justice is just getting started'

First alleged victim to sue Epstein estate: 'My quest for justice is just getting started'
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The first woman to sue the estate of late financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein under a newly enacted New York state law wrote in The New York Times on Wednesday that her “quest for justice is just getting started.” 

Jennifer Araoz filed her lawsuit in state court Wednesday, the first day she was eligible under the Child Victims Act, which waives the statute of limitations on civil child sex abuse claims for a year.

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In her column, Araoz expresses frustration that Epstein, who died of an apparent suicide in his jail cell Saturday morning, will “not have to personally answer to me,” but hails the new state law for offering her and those in similar circumstances a chance to seek justice.

“Standing up to the entrenched network of power and wealth that surrounded Epstein is scary, but I am no longer afraid,” she writes.

“Reliving these experiences is tough, but I’ve learned to be tougher. I used to feel alone, walking into his mansion with the cameras pointing at me, but now I have the power of the law on my side. I will be seen. I will be heard. I will demand justice,” she adds.

Araoz also writes that she was approached by a “recruiter” for Epstein outside her high school. The woman told Araoz, then an aspiring actress and singer, that she could introduce her to Epstein and that he could help her make connections that would benefit her career.

Once Araoz told her that her father had recently died and her family had been forced to use food stamps, “the trap was set” as the recruiter said Epstein could also support her family financially, Araoz writes.

Araoz writes that the first visits to Epstein’s residence seemed innocent enough and consisted mostly of talking, with the financier giving her occasional gifts or money. About a month in, however, he asked her for massages and to take her top off.

“The last day I went to his house was during the fall of my sophomore year. This time, when I was giving him the massage, he told me to take off my underwear and get on top of him. When I said no, he got more aggressive, held me tightly and raped me,” she writes.

She writes that after this incident, she never returned to Epstein’s house and also left the performing arts school she had attended because of its proximity to Epstein and her association with the school and the recruiter, transferring to a school in Queens before later dropping out. 

The Child Victims Act took effect in the Empire State at midnight, with hundreds of complaints expected in coming weeks. Plaintiffs have also filed complaints against the Archdiocese of New York, the Boy Scouts and Rockefeller University as of Wednesday.