By Dave Paone
NEW YORK—Ghislaine Maxwell, who was once an international, jet-setting socialite, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 28 for trafficking young women to be used for the sexual exploits of her employer and one-time romantic partner, Jeffrey Epstein.
The 60-year-old was convicted on Dec. 29 in federal court on five of six counts of sex trafficking, including one count of trafficking a minor.
During the trial, an expert witness testified about the “grooming” techniques Maxwell and Epstein used to lure their victims.
One such victim known to the court as “Kate,” referenced those techniques in a written statement submitted to the court prior to the sentencing hearing, saying in part, “It was the very skilled grooming perpetrated on me intentionally and consistently, that instilled in me the belief that I could not say no to Ghislaine Maxwell or Epstein.
“I witnessed on many occasions, over many years, Ghislaine Maxwell trying to recruit other girls making consistent and insistent demands on me and others to do the same.
“I witnessed her relentless and insatiable drive to meet the sexual needs of Epstein, at any cost to the vulnerable girls and women upon whom she preyed and fed to Epstein and other powerful men to whom she wished to ingratiate herself.”
She ended with, “In becoming a mother I have learned that forgiveness is important, but so are consequences.”
Victim Virginia Giuffre, a prominent Maxwell victim, said in her written victim statement, “Ghislaine, 22 years ago, in the summer of 2000, you spotted me at the Mar-a-Lago Hotel in Florida and you made a choice. You chose to follow me and procure me for Jeffrey Epstein.
“Just hours later, you and he abused me together for the first time. Together, you damaged me physically, mentally, sexually, and emotionally. Together you did unthinkable things that still have a corrosive impact on me to this day.
Giuffre ended with, “I will never give up. I will never go away. If you ever get out of prison, I will be here, watching you, making sure you never hurt anyone else again.”
Another victim, Annie Farmer submitted a written statement saying, “For a long time, I wanted to erase from my mind the crimes that Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein committed against me and pretend they hadn’t happened.”
“I blamed myself for believing these predators actually wanted to help me. I felt tremendous survivor guilt and when I heard what other girls and young women had experienced at the hands of Maxwell and Epstein, I saw how my sister’s concern about me weighed on her and felt guilty about that as well,” Farmer added.
Farmer said Maxwell “had many opportunities to come clean, but instead continued to make choices that caused more harm,” and how Farmer “feared being on Epstein and Maxwell’s radar because of their previous lies and threats.”
She ended with a plea to Nathan.
“I ask you to bear in mind how Maxwell’s unwillingness to acknowledge her crimes, her lack of remorse, and her repeated lies about her victims created the need for many of us to engage in a long fight for justice that has felt like a black hole sucking in our precious time, energy, and well-being for much too long now. These things cannot be replaced.”
Last week, Maxwell’s defense team filed two memorandums with the court asking for Judge Alison Nathan to be lenient in her sentencing, citing in one the 2003 guidelines the courts used before they were modified in 2004.
The prosecution responded with the reasons why the harsher, 2004 guidelines should be used instead.