Lawyers have dropped a civil case against a New Canaan woman who used to work for billionaire convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Lesley Groff, a former executive assistant to Epstein, had been named as a defendant in a civil suit brought on behalf of Jennifer Araoz. She accused Epstein of sexually abusing her at his personal home in New York City in 2001 and 2002, according to a press release issued Tuesday on behalf of Groff’s attorneys.
Lesley Groff worked from Madison Avenue offices, and never was in Epstein’s personal home, according to Groff’s counsel.
“This is a true vindication for our client Lesley Groff who had no knowledge and no participation in any of these horrific crimes,” New Canaan resident Jon Whitcomb, an attorney with Stamford-based Diserio Martin, said the release. “But as a wife and a mother, Lesley remains heartbroken for Jennifer and all of the victims.”
As part of Epstein’s professional office staff, Groff never witnessed anything improper or illegal, the press release said.
“Lesley has always maintained her innocence,” attorney Michael Bachner of New York City-based Bachner & Weiner said in the release. “We are not surprised that the civil case has been dropped since Lesley found out about these inexplicable crimes when the rest of the world did. She is truly thankful that this is now behind her.”
New York state Supreme Court Judge George J. Silver permanently discontinued the case after Groff’s attorneys filed a motion.
“There was no financial contribution by Lesley Groff to the settlement,” the press release said.
“As an executive assistant to Epstein, Lesley worked as part of a professional staff that included in-house attorneys, accountants 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, celebrities, charitable organizations and universities.”
Epstein came under investigation in Florida in 2005 after a parent told police he’d abused her 14-year-old daughter. He pleaded guilty in 2008 and was convicted of just two crimes under a plea deal, including procuring a child for prostitution, for which he served 13 months. He was arrested again in July 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking of minors. An associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested by the FBI in July and is expected to be tried next year for enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children and perjury.
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