Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in jail for luring young girls molested by Jeffrey Epstein

·5-min read
Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years in jail for luring young girls molested by Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in the US for luring young girls to be molested by Jeffrey Epstein.

The disgraced British socialite, 60, was sentenced by Judge Alison Nathan on Tuesday at a Manhattan court after being found guilty over a string of sex abuse charges.

Assistant US attorney Alison Moe said Maxwell was Epstein’s “right hand” and made his crimes possible when she recruited and trafficked four teenage girls for sexual abuse.

Maxwell apologised to her victims before she was sentenced saying “may this day help you travel through darkness into the light.”

She said she empathised with them and meeting Epstein was “the biggest regret” of her life.

“My association with Epstein will permanently stain me,” she said, adding she hoped her prison sentence would allow the victims “peace and finality”.

The prosecution had earlier called for judge Nathan to give Maxwell a minimum 30-year prison term - rising to 55 years.

Handing down the sentence, when she also imposed a $750,000 fine, the judge said "a very significant sentence was “necessary" and she wanted to send a "unmistakable message" that these kinds of crimes would be punished.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

She said Maxwell’s actions had been “heinous and predatory”.

“Ms Maxwell worked with Epstein to select young victims who were vulnerable and played a pivotal role in facilitating sexual abuse,” she added.

Maxwell looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as the sentence was passed in front of a packed public gallery.

Her accusers had earlier came face to face with her, reading victim impact statements to the court - describing her as a "manipulative, cruel and merciless person."

Maxwell, who was described as "dangerous" by the prosecution during her three-week trial last year, helped entice vulnerable teenagers to Epstein's various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

They told the court in the Southern District of New York of her “relentless and insatiable drive to meet the sexual needs of Epstein” and their “retraumatisation” over having to give evidence during the trial.

The socialite was convicted in December last year of sex trafficking minors, conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

She was also found guilty of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

Sarah Ransome and Elizabeth Stein, victims of Jeffery Epstein, arrive for the sentencing of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial (REUTERS)
Sarah Ransome and Elizabeth Stein, victims of Jeffery Epstein, arrive for the sentencing of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial (REUTERS)

Sarah Ransome and Elizabeth Stein, victims of Epstein, arrived at the court on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the sentencing.

“Ghislaine must die in prison because I’ve been in Hell and back for the last seventeen years,” Ms Ransome said outside court.

Before the hearing, Maxwell had entered the room with shackles round her ankles which rattled as she made her way to her seat.

Despite not being part of the indictment, the victim impact statement of the Duke of York’s accuser, Virginia Giuffre, was due to be read to the court where she says Maxwell “opened the door to hell”. Andrew has always strenuously denied Ms Giuffre’s allegations.

Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein (US Department of Justice) (PA Media)
Ghislaine Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein (US Department of Justice) (PA Media)

One of Maxwell’s accusers, who testified under the pseudonym “Jane”, told jurors that as well as luring her to an orgy at the age of 14, the defendant and Epstein would fondle each other and giggle in front of her.

She also told jurors how Epstein would use sex toys on her “even though it hurt” and did not tell anyone about the abuse because she was “terrified” and “felt gross and ashamed”.

Maxwell’s trial also heard how she told another accuser, who testified under the pseudonym “Carolyn”, that she had a “great body for Epstein and his friends”.

Jurors also heard how Carolyn had been introduced to the predatory pair through Ms Giuffre, and had been in the same room while Epstein and Ms Giuffre had sex.

The third accuser, who testified under the pseudonym “Kate”, said she had a schoolgirl outfit laid out for her by Maxwell before a sexualised massage with Epstein.

Virginia Giuffre’s victim impact statement is due to be read to the court (PA Media)
Virginia Giuffre’s victim impact statement is due to be read to the court (PA Media)

Kate said the defendant then told her to take Epstein his tea in the outfit, and when asked by the accuser why the outfit was on her bed, Maxwell said she “thought it would be fun”.

The only accuser to testify under her full name, Annie Farmer, told jurors she was left “frozen” when the socialite asked her to undress for a massage and rubbed her breasts.

Ms Farmer said the defendant encouraged her to have a massage after teaching her how to rub Epstein’s feet at the age of 16.

Speaking outside court, Ms Farmer said Maxwell’s last-ditch attempt to apologise to her victims sounded “hollow”.

“Her statement very like a very hollow apology to me and she did not take responsibility for the crimes that she committed,” she said.

“It felt like once more her trying to do something to benefit her and not at all about the harm she had caused.”

Maxwell’s defence counsel had attempted to distance her from Epstein, but a series of photographs showed the close relationship the pair had.

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

The death was ruled a suicide.

Maxwell, who has been held in a US jail since her arrest in July 2020, was sentenced on Tuesday morning, New York time.

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