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MoMA trustee Leon Black accused of raping woman in Epstein's mansion in new lawsuit

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An undated handout photo made available by the US Attorney Southern District of New York shows Jeffrey Epstein. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York/EPA-EFE
An undated handout photo made available by the US Attorney Southern District of New York shows Jeffrey Epstein. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York/EPA-EFE

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Leon Black, a trustee and former board chair of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, has been accused of raping a woman at Jeffrey Epstein's mansion in a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by the woman, Cheri Pierson, in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday and she has demanded a jury trial.

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Lawyers for Pierson said in court documents that she "was raped by Black" in the spring of 2002 "in a secluded and private area" on the third floor of Epstein's mansion on the Upper East Side of New York "where no one could see Black or hear Ms. Pierson scream."

Pierson was allegedly hired by Epstein to give a massage to Black -- who the late financier described as a powerful businessman. Her lawyers said she "desperately needed" the $300 she was promised for her services to care for her young daughter and agreed to give the massage.

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"When Ms. Pierson arrived at Epstein's on the arranged date, and while she was standing in a back hallway towards the kitchen, Black joined her in the hallway," the court documents read.

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"Black made it clear that he was the person she was to give the massage to, although he did not offer his name."

Before the scheduled massage, Pierson and Black allegedly engaged in "meaningless chit chat" including commentary on art Epstein had in his home before he took her up the elevator to the third floor to a room that contained a massage table and was connected to a bathroom.

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"Black wasted no time before inflicting violence on Ms. Pierson," the court documents read.

"By the time Ms. Pierson exited the massage suite and rode down the elevator with Black, she could barely walk out of the house onto the sidewalk, as she was in excruciating pain and still in shock."

Pierson's lawyers noted that Black has repeatedly stated in the past that he regularly and often visited Epstein's mansion over the course of more than 20 years.

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Her allegations mark the second time that Black has been accused of sexual assault.

Black, who co-founded the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, was previously named in a lawsuit by former Russian model Guzel Ganieva.

More than 150 artists signed an open letter in early 2021 calling for MoMA to cut ties with Black, who was the chairman of the board at the time. He stepped down from the role a month later.

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