An Autistic Woman Has Filed a Lawsuit Claiming MoMA Trustee Leon Black Raped Her at Jeffrey Epstein’s Mansion When She Was 16

This is the third lawsuit in the past three years confronting the embattled billionaire with similar allegations.

Leon Black.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

In a new lawsuit, financier and Museum of Modern Art trustee Leon Black has been accused of raping an underage girl at Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2002. This is the third time three years that the embattled billionaire has faced lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. 

The accuser is identified only as “Jane Doe” because she was 16 when Epstein introduced her to Black, according to the complaint filed in New York district court on July 25. It added that she is autistic and was, developmentally, “about 12” at the time.

Doe said that Black led her up to a third-floor massage room where he forced her down, ripped off her clothes, and violently raped her, despite her cries for help. Doe said she was left bleeding, but Epstein refused to take her to a hospital, saying only that Ghislaine Maxwell—who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for child sex trafficking in connection with Epstein—would take care of her. 

“The violent and sadistic nature of Black’s rape left an indelible mark on her, both physically and psychologically,” the lawsuit reads. It added that Doe “suffered internal abrasions… that continue to cause her pain.” 

With the lawsuit, Doe is seeking compensation for physical injuries, emotional distress, and monetary damages resulting from the alleged incident. She is able to sue Black under a recently passed amendment to New York’s Gender Motivated Violence Act, which lifts the statute of limitations on qualifying cases for a period of two years.  

In a statement shared with Artnet News, Black’s lawyer, Susan Estrich, called the lawsuit “frivolous and sanctionable.” 

“Mr. Black has never met this individual,” Estrich said. “These allegations—about an incident that supposedly took place 20 years ago—are totally made up and are entirely uncorroborated.” 

The encounter described by Doe is similar to the one outlined in a separate lawsuit, filed in November. The plaintiff in that case, Cheri Pierson, claimed that, in 2002, Epstein introduced her to Black with the understanding that she would give him a $300 massage. She said that Black took her up to the third floor of the townhouse and raped her. 

In 2021, a former Russian model named Guzel Ganieva sued Black, alleging that he had subjected her to years of abuse, including instances of sexual assault and rape. The lawsuit was dismissed earlier this year. 

Doe, Pierson, Ganieva are each represented by the law firm Wigdor LLP. In her statement, Black’s lawyer Estrich accused the firm of having a “vendetta against Mr. Black.” On the Doe case, she added: “This sham proceeding will be promptly dismissed and will provide further ammunition for Mr. Black’s pending sanctions motion against the Wigdor firm.” 

Following an independent review of his ties to Epstein, Black abruptly resigned as the chief executive of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management in January of 2021. The next month, more than 150 artists called for MoMA to remove the financier from its board, where he served as its chair. Black opted not to seek re-election as board chair in March, and was replaced by Marie-Josée Kravis. He remains on the museum’s board. 

Last month, Black reached a $62.5 million settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands over his connections to Epstein

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