On Thursday morning, almost a year after disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was found hanged in his prison cell, the FBI arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and alleged procurer of his underage victims.
The British socialite has been in hiding since Epstein was arrested last summer, amid intense speculation that she would face charges for being complicit in his crimes. She was arrested in New Hampshire and will make an appearance in court there on Thursday, before being transported to Manhattan, where she is being charged in federal court. Her attorney, Jeffrey S. Pagliuca, did not immediately return request for comment.
Maxwell has been charged in the Eastern District of New York with five criminal counts, including enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and perjury. The allegations against her go back more than two decades to as early as 1994. Here’s what we learned from the 18-page indictment, which was unsealed on Thursday.
Who are the victims?
The indictment names three anonymous victims, known as Minor Victims 1, 2, and 3. The victims were as young as 14 when they were enticed by Maxwell and groomed for sexual abuse by Epstein, according to the indictment.
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“Epstein’s resulting abuse of minor victims included, among other things, touching a victim’s breast, touching a victim’s genitals, placing a sex toy such as a vibrator on a victim’s genitals, directing a victim to touch Epstein while he masturbated, and directing a victim to touch Epstein’s genitals,” the indictment says.
According to the indictment, Minor Victim 1 was about 14 years old when she met Maxwell in 1994. First, it says, Maxwell befriended her by taking her out shopping or to the movies, talking to her about school and her family and friends. Then Maxwell would “normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, undressing in front of Minor Victim 1 and being present when Minor Victim 1 undressed in front of Epstein,” the indictment says.
Maxwell would entice the girl to give Epstein a massage, then engage in group sex acts with her and with Epstein. Maxwell also allegedly encouraged the girl to travel across state lines to engage in these sexual acts, which, according to the indictment, happened in both New York and Florida.
Maxwell met Minor Victim 2 in 1996, the indictment says, after Epstein had invited the girl to New Mexico, where he had a home. (It’s unclear where she had flown in from; the indictment simply says she was from “out of state.”) Maxwell took the girl shopping and encouraged her to talk about her life. That’s where Maxwell allegedly started grooming her, giving her an “unsolicited massage” while the girl was topless. She would encourage her to give Epstein massages, too.
Maxwell befriended Minor Victim 3 in London in 1994, according to the indictment. She introduced the girl to Epstein, and encouraged her to give him massages. “Maxwell was aware that Epstein engaged in sexual activity with Minor Victim 3 on multiple occasions, including at times when Minor Victim 3 was under the age of 18, including in the context of a sexualized massage,” according to the indictment.
What are the charges?
Maxwell is charged with enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury. The perjury charges stem from a deposition she gave in 2016 as part of a civil lawsuit, during which she said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when prosecutors asked if she had any knowledge of Epstein’s scheme to recruit underage girls to give him massages. Maxwell also denied that she ever engaged in group sex with the victims or gave a massage to the victims.
Read the full indictment below:
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