Ghislaine Maxwell is a name synonymous with Jeffrey Epstein – an American financier and convicted sex offender accused of running a “vast network” of underage girls for sex. Epstein died in a New York prison cell in August last year while awaiting trial for federal charges of sex trafficking minors, and his death was ruled a suicide. Now, Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend, has been sentenced to 20 years in a US prison and handed a US$750,000 fine for helping recruit and traffic underage girls for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.
The most surprising thing was when Maxwell stood up to address the victims directly, saying that she regretted meeting Epstein and hoped the sentencing would allow them to “look forward and not back.” She also attempted to pin the blame on Epstein, saying, “Jeffrey Epstein should have been here before all of you, he should have stood before you all those years ago, he should have stood before you in 2005, again in 2009, and again in 2019.”
Four accusers spoke at Tuesday’s hearing, most of whom were only identified by their first name, recounting their harrowing stories of being recruited by Maxwell and abused by Epstein, with Maxwell sometimes participating in the abuse. Maxwell did not look at them when they read out their prepared statements.
“I’m sorry for the pain that you have experienced. Victims considered him as a godfather, a mentor, a benefactor, a friend, a lover. It is absolutely unfathomable today to think that was how he was viewed contemporaneously. His impact on all those close to him has been devastating. I hope this brings the women who have suffered some measure of peace and faintly to help you put those experiences of so many years ago in a place that allows you to look forward and not back. It is my sincerest wish to all those in this courtroom and all those outside this courtroom that today brings a terrible chapter to an end. May this day help you travel through darkness into the light,” said Maxwell.
“I was getting fully nude, and she came in and felt my boobs and my hips and my buttocks and said … that I had a great body for Mr. Epstein and his friends. She just said that I had a good body type,” “Carolyn” testified. She said she traveled to Epstein’s home “over 100 times” between ages 14 and 18.