Billionaire Leon Black, co-founder of investment firm Apollo Global Management Inc., is facing serious allegations in a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses Black of raping a then-16-year-old girl with Down syndrome and autism back in 2002 at the Manhattan townhouse of the notorious convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, who is now in her late 30s, claims she was trafficked to Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year for her involvement in recruiting and grooming teenage girls for sexual abuse by Epstein.
According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe, who has mosaic Down syndrome and a “developmental age” of around 12 years old, alleges that she was preparing to give Leon Black a massage when he allegedly assaulted her, using “adult toys” and leaving her injured and bleeding. The complaint further states that Epstein found her in distress but denied her request to see a doctor, promising that Maxwell would take care of her.
Susan Estrich, an attorney representing Leon Black, has strongly denied the allegations, calling them “frivolous and sanctionable.” She accused the law firm behind the suit, Wigdor LLP, of having a vendetta against Black, citing previous cases as evidence.
The lawsuit not only accuses Black of this disturbing incident but also connects him to other sexual abuse accusations. Cheri Pierson, who previously accused Black of raping her in Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2002, and former Russian model Guzel Ganieva, who filed a lawsuit dismissed in May, are among the accusers, as reported by Reuters.
Estrich asserted that the new case will likely bolster a pending sanctions motion against the Wigdor law firm in the Pierson case. Furthermore, Black was reported to have reached a $62.5 million settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a home, to avoid potential lawsuits. A spokesperson for Black confirmed the settlement, stating that it does not suggest any knowledge or participation in Epstein’s misconduct.
It’s important to note that Epstein died by suicide in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges. As the lawsuit unfolds, public attention remains focused on the allegations against Leon Black and the troubling association with Jeffrey Epstein.