By JAMES HILL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Four months after filing a lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, the former companion of deceased sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, lawyers for an alleged child sexual assault victim say they have been unable to locate Maxwell to serve her with the complaint, despite exhaustive attempts to track her down, according to court records.
The anonymous accuser, Jane Doe, is the earliest known alleged victim of Epstein’s years-long pattern of sexual abuse of girls and young women. And she’s the third woman suing Maxwell to seek court intervention as a last resort, following months of futile efforts to find the 58-year-old British socialite — who has been accused of aiding Epstein’s alleged crimes.
“[The plaintiff] has demonstrated that personally serving Maxwell is impracticable by making numerous diligent attempts to effectuate service — to no avail,” Doe’s attorney Robert Glassman wrote in a filing in federal court.
Doe’s legal team dispatched process servers to five addresses previously connected to Maxwell, including a multi-million dollar brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, an apartment building in Miami Beach and Epstein’s mansion on Palm Beach Island, according to court documents. They also sent copies of the complaint to eight different email addresses potentially connected to Maxwell, but received no replies.
Since Epstein’s arrest last July and his death in jail a month later, Maxwell’s whereabouts have been the subject of rumors and intense speculation. She has not been seen in public for months. She sold her former home in New York and shuttered her nonprofit ocean conservation foundation.
The Oxford-educated daughter of Robert Maxwell, the larger-than-life publishing titan, Ghislaine Maxwell lived an extravagant life among the British elite until her father’s empire collapsed in the wake of his death in 1991. She relocated to New York for a fresh start and was soon spotted frequently in the company of the enigmatic multi-millionaire Epstein.
Sources tell ABC News that Maxwell remains under criminal investigation by federal authorities in New York, who have vowed to hold responsible any alleged co-conspirators in Epstein’s sex trafficking conspiracy.
Doe is one of three women to name Maxwell as a co-defendant in lawsuits against Epstein’s estate, which is valued at $634 million, according to court filings in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Epstein kept his primary residence on a private Caribbean island off the coast of St. Thomas.
Doe, 39, filed the complaint in January, alleging that she was recruited by Epstein and Maxwell at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan in 1994, when she was a 13-year-old music student. She contends that she was sexually abused by Epstein on multiple occasions over the next four years, and that Maxwell “regularly facilitated Epstein’s abuse” and was “frequently present when it occurred.”
Epstein attended a music camp at Interlochen as a young teen in 1967, according to a statement released last year by the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He was a donor to the center from 1990 until 2003 and funded construction of a cabin on the campus, which was called “The Epstein Lodge,” until his arrest in 2006. The statement said the center had no record of any complaints about Epstein.
Doe’s court filing contends Maxwell is “purposely evading service,” while lawyers from a Colorado firm representing her are simultaneously contesting other actions before judges in the same federal court. Laura Menninger, a lawyer from that firm, told Glassman that she was “not authorized to accept service of any complaint on behalf of Ghislaine Maxwell,” according to a letter included in the court filing.
Menninger’s firm is currently representing Maxwell in a dispute surrounding the disclosure of previously sealed documents in a now-settled defamation lawsuit brought against Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that Epstein and Maxwell sexually abused her as a teenager and directed her to have sex with other powerful men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew.
And as recently as last week, Menninger appeared as counsel for Maxwell during a hearing in a lawsuit filed by Annie Farmer, who alleges that Maxwell sexually assaulted her in 1996, when Farmer was 16. Menninger successfully argued in that hearing that Maxwell should not be required to respond to questions in the lawsuit — at least temporarily — while the criminal investigation is still underway.
Menninger did not respond to an email from ABC News requesting comment. Maxwell has previously denied allegations that she facilitated or participated in Epstein’s alleged crimes. Prince Andrew has also denied allegations that he had sex with Giuffre, as she contends, on three occasions in 2001.
Lawyers for Farmer and another alleged victim, Jennifer Araoz, have run into similar issues trying to serve Maxwell with notice of their lawsuits.
Farmer’s lawyers successfully convinced a court in February that they had done all they could reasonably do to locate Maxwell. U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman ordered Maxwell to respond and three weeks later, Menninger filed an appearance in the case as counsel for Maxwell. Freeman is also overseeing Doe’s case.
Araoz’s attorneys have a motion pending before a New York state court judge seeking approval for alternate means of service. In a court filing, they contend they have made “repeated efforts to locate Ms. Maxwell, including retaining private investigators to conduct surveillance of locations media reports indicated Ms. Maxwell may be located.”
Araoz, 32, claims she was recruited in New York as a 14-year student into Epstein’s “scheme of exploitation and abuse,” and she is seeking to hold Maxwell responsible for her alleged role as the “second in command of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking enterprise,” according to her complaint filed last August.
Dan Kaiser, an attorney for Araoz, told ABC News that they filed the motion after a variety of unsuccessful efforts to locate her for service. Maxwell “proved impossible to locate,” he said.
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