Jeffrey Epstein preyed on women during jail sentence, forced victim to marry woman, lawsuits allege

Three lawsuits allege a complex web of companies employing "disciples" who saw to it that Epstein's sexual desires were met.
Image: Jeffrey Epstein illustration
The lawsuits allege that Jeffrey Epstein used an army of "disciples" to recruit young girls and women to have sex with him. Chelsea Stahl / NBC News; Getty Images

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By Alex Johnson

Jeffrey Epstein employed an army of "disciples" through a complex network of companies for many years to recruit girls and young women to have sex with him, according to allegations in three lawsuits filed Tuesday.

Among the allegations is that Epstein arranged to have one of the women marry another woman so the woman could get permanent U.S. residence allowing her to stay in the country. One of the suits allege that Epstein continued to have sex with underage girls while he was on work release serving a Florida jail sentence under the watch of sheriff's deputies.

The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by women identified only as Katlyn Doe, Lisa Doe and Priscilla Doe, name seven businesses or foundations alleged to have assisted Epstein as respondents in addition to the estate of Epstein, who was found dead by suicide in his Manhattan jail cell this month.

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages at jury trials.

Two of the suits allege activities similar to those claimed in actions brought against Epstein by other women — allegations of sex procured from teenagers with charm, gifts, promises of money and lucrative careers, and threats.

The most explosive allegations are detailed in the third suit, filed by Katlyn Doe, which claims that Epstein blackmailed her when she was 17 to have sex with him by promising to pay for expensive surgery she needed and then threatening to see to it that she would never get treatment if she refused.

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According to the lawsuit, the activities began before, and continued during and after, Epstein's jail sentence in Florida, where he was granted generous work release privileges to conduct business affairs at the Florida Science Foundation.

Epstein created the foundation a few months before he began serving his sentence in 2008 on state charges of soliciting a prostitute and of procuring an underage girl for prostitution. He dissolved it shortly after he finished serving the community service requirements of his sentence through the foundation.

According to the lawsuit, its main purpose was to give Epstein a haven from jail where he could prey on young women under the watch of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which provided off-duty deputies to guard him. The sheriff's office said last month that it was re-investigating the arrangement.

Katlyn continued to have sex with Epstein believing he would eventually pay for her medical treatment, according to the lawsuit. Then, in 2013, he made a new request, it says.

According to the suit, a woman described as a "non-United States citizen and recruiter of females for Jeffrey Epstein" needed permanent U.S. residence so she could remain in the country, and to get it, Epstein arranged for Katlyn to marry the woman in New York, where same-sex marriage had been legalized two years earlier. He continued to have sex with Katlyn during the first few months of the marriage, the suit alleges.

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By the next year, however, Katlyn had turned 25 and was "too old" for Epstein, who forced her to move out of one of his apartments in Manhattan, leaving her homeless, it says.

Katlyn and her wife remained married until 2017, when they divorced, having fulfilled Epstein's conditions, according to the suit. But Epstein stiffed Katlyn, refusing to pay her a balance of $10,000 that they had agreed upon, it says.

To make matters worse, the suit alleges, Epstein also refused to follow through on his promise to pay for Katlyn's medical care. She still has never had the surgery she needs, the lawsuit says.

The three lawsuits, drafted and filed by the same law firm, describe a far-reaching network of Epstein-controlled companies and foundations that employed scores of "disciples" devoted to serving his desires.

"The main and in many instances only function of each of the associates who acted at the instruction or direction of Epstein was to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, maintain, or solicit young females, knowing that fraud or coercion would be used to cause each female, including Plaintiff, to engage in a commercial sex act," according to the suit filed by Priscilla Doe.

"This team of individuals included chefs, butlers, receptionists, schedulers, secretaries, flight attendants, pilots, housekeepers, maids, sex recruiters, drivers and other staff members," it says.

The lawsuits are filed against Epstein's estate, which he bequeathed to a trust he apparently created on Aug. 8, two days before he was found dead. Probate documents obtained by NBC News show that the bequest was made under a new will that he executed the same day.

Actions by his alleged victims will now presumably have to proceed against the trust, few details of which have been made public.

Representatives of the estate told NBC News that "appropriate procedures" would be put in place to ensure that "the interests of potential creditors and beneficiaries alike are resolved in compliance with the laws of the United States Virgin Islands," where Epstein maintained a residence.