‘She ruined lives’: Ghislaine Maxwell’s victims tell of the impact of her abuse

Shortly before Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in her New York sex trafficking case, several of the former British socialite’s victims provided impact statements in court.

The victims who addressed Judge Alison Nathan described harrowing abuse at the hands of Maxwell and her one-time boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein and the longterm emotional impact that still haunts them.

“For a long time I wanted to erase from my mind the crimes that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell committed against me … but I’ve had to acknowledge the long-lasting effects. One of the most painful and ongoing impacts of Maxwell and Epstein’s abuse was the loss of trust in myself,” one victim, Annie Farmer, said, breaking into tears during her address to the court.

Farmer testified that Maxwell lulled her into a false security when the disgraced financier Epstein invited the then-16-year-old to his New Mexico ranch in spring 1996. One day after an excursion into town, Maxwell gave her a nude massage.

“I felt tremendous survivor guilt when I heard about what other girls and young women experienced at the hands of Maxwell and Epstein,” Farmer said, adding, “This toxic combination of being sexually exposed and exploited … all resulted in significant shame.”

Maxwell, 60, was convicted on 29 December for luring girls as young as age 14 into Epstein’s abusive orbit. She has maintained her innocence.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender and financier who once counted Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew as associates, was arrested in July 2019 for sex trafficking. He killed himself in New York federal jail about one month later, while his case was pending.

The second accuser to testify at Maxwell’s trial, Kate, also spoke. Kate said that she met Maxwell in Paris around 1994, and that she was lured into sexual encounters with Epstein under the false pretense of massage shortly thereafter.

“At a time when women’s rights have so callously been discarded, as a mother of a young daughter, I fear for the safety and freedom of my child,” Kate began, saying that if “we cannot stop women who’ve been raped from being forced to bear children from their rapists, then we must take a stand of zero tolerance for those who abuse their power” to sexually abuse and traffic.

Kate said that Maxwell “ruined the lives of countless women and children” but was unrepentant. “She doesn’t think what she did was wrong. She is not sorry. She would do it again.”

Virginia Giuffre has alleged Maxwell and Epstein forced her into a sexual encounter with Britain’s Prince Andrew when she was just 17; he denies all wrongdoing. In February, the UK royal settled Giuffre’s sexual assault civil case against him. Giuffre was not present in court, but her attorney read her statement.

“Twenty-two years ago, in the summer of 2000, you spotted me at Mar-a-Lago hotel in Florida, and you made a choice: you chose to follow me and procure me for Jeffrey Epstein,” Giuffre’s statement said. “Just hours later, you and [Epstein] abused me together for the first time.”

“As a woman, I think you understood the damage you were causing – you could have put an end to the rapes, the molestation, the sickening manipulation that you witnessed and even took part in,” the statement also said.

Sarah Ransome said that she was sexually abused by Epstein some 17 years ago at age 22, after she came to New York City to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “For the entertainment for Epstein, Maxwell, and others, I was subjected to sexual predation multiple times a day – both in his New York mansion and on his private island in the US Virgin Islands.”

“On one of the visits to his island, the sexual demands, degradation and humiliation became so horrific that I attempted to escape by jumping off a cliff into shark-infested waters,” said Ransome, who cried as she provided her statement. Ransome said she attempted suicide twice after the abuse.

Elizabeth Stein, who came to New York City in 1991 to study at Fashion Institute of Technology, said she was lured into Maxwell and Epstein’s orbit as a college senior. Stein was working at a clothing shop when she attended to Maxwell as a customer, and then agreed to drop off her purchases later in the day.

“I called her office for delivery instructions and was told to bring them to a hotel close by to the store,” Stein said. “When I arrived, the hotel concierge told me Ms Maxwell was in the bar and that she wanted to meet someone.” It was Jeffrey Epstein. “That night in the hotel was the first of many times they sexually assaulted me.”

“I was trapped. I was assaulted, raped, and trafficked countless times in New York and Florida,” over a period of several years, Stein said.

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