Judge: Sex battery claims by Ecclestone daughter can continue


A Palm Beach County Circuit Court judge last month refused to throw out a lawsuit filed against E. Llwyd Ecclestone, Jr., by his adult daughter, who alleges the prominent real estate developer sexually molested her as a child.

The allegations by Wendy Walker Mendelsohn and her husband, Joshua, were made in an amended complaint filed on July 2. Wendy Mendelsohn claimed that when she was 10 years old, Ecclestone inappropriately embraced and kissed her.

RELATED: Ecclestone daughter accuses powerful developer of child sex abuse

In her complaint, Mendelsohn said it wasn’t until 2016 when she recalled the alleged behavior by her father during her childhood, as part of her recovery from the abuse she said she suffered at about the same age by her brother, E. Llwyd Ecclestone III, who is six years older than her.

Mendelsohn is seeking unspecified money damages from Ecclestone.

READ ALSO: Ecclestone: Daughter’s ‘vile’ claims of sex abuse should be tossed

In a motion seeking to dismiss the case, Ecclestone’s lawyers said Mendelsohn’s “fake claims are nothing more than a shake down” to coerce Ecclestone to pay exorbitant sums of money to her and her husband.

But on Aug. 30, Judge Meenu Sasser allowed Mendelsohn’s lawsuit to continue.

Sasser did toss references to polygraph tests Mendelsohn said she successfully passed in 2016 and 2017. Ecclestone’s lawyers said lie-detector tests are inadmissible as evidence. Sasser also struck allegations of abuse against the elder Ecclestone.

The next day, Mendelsohn filed another amended complaint, claiming sexual battery instead.

“This lawsuit is a continuing attempt by a daughter, Wendy, and her husband to bully her father for money through lies and innuendo,” said Ecclestone’s lawyer, Robin Taylor Symons. “We are confident that the full judicial process will clear his name.”

“This case isn’t going anywhere but to trial, and the truth is going to come out,” said Mendelsohn’s lawyer, Rod Coleman.

Ecclestone, who lives on an oceanfront Palm Beach mansion with his wife, Diana, has been a driving force in Palm Beach County’s development for 50 years. He’s known for building such north Palm Beach County communities as PGA National Resort & Spa and Ibis Golf and Country Club.

In her lawsuit, Mendelsohn said she was encouraged by mental health professionals to disclose the alleged behavior of her brother to her father. But Ecclestone, upon whom Mendelsohn said she is emotionally and financially dependent, did not respond sympathetically, the lawsuit said.

The complaint said Ecclestone grew tired of Mendelsohn’s efforts to discuss her alleged abuse with family members, leading him to isolate her from the rest of the family. Wendy and Joshua Mendelsohn have been married for 21 years and have three children.

Wendy Mendelsohn is the youngest daughter of Ecclestone’s four children.

Ecclestone later told Wendy Mendelsohn if she were willing to stop talking about the alleged sexual abuse by her brother, and sign a letter of confidentiality regarding it, he would allow her and her family back into the family’s good graces, the lawsuit said.

Mendelsohn’s allegations follow a separate lawsuit filed by her against her siblings and non-family trustees.

That lawsuit alleges that assets of at least $15 million promised to Wendy were improperly put into Ecclestone’s wife’s name. The lawsuit has spawned a separate, major trust legal battle in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.



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