Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that GHISLANE MAXWELL was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court by United States Circuit Judge Alison J. Nathan to 240 months in prison for her role in a scheme to sexual exploit and abuse multiple minor girls with Jeffrey Epstein over the course of a decade. MAXWELL was previously found guilty on December 29, 2021, following a one-month jury trial, of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors to participate in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sex acts, sex trafficking conspiracy, and sex trafficking of a minor.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Today’s sentence holds Ghislaine Maxwell accountable for perpetrating heinous crimes against children. This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice. We again express our gratitude to Epstein and Maxwell’s victims for their courage in coming forward, in testifying at trial, and in sharing their stories as part of today’s sentencing.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment, court documents, and evidence presented at trial:
From at least 1994, up to and including in or about 2004, GHISLAINE MAXWELL assisted, facilitated, and participated in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to MAXWELL and Epstein to be under the age of 18. The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by MAXWELL and Epstein, both of whom knew that their victims were in fact minors. As a part and in furtherance of their scheme to abuse minor victims, MAXWELL and Epstein enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences in different states, which MAXWELL knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse.
MAXWELL enticed and groomed minor girls to be abused in multiple ways. For example, MAXWELL attempted to befriend certain victims by asking them about their lives, their schools, and their families, and taking them to the movies or on shopping trips. MAXWELL also acclimated victims to Epstein’s conduct simply by being present for victim interactions with Epstein, which put victims at ease by providing the assurance and comfort of an adult woman who seemingly approved of Epstein’s behavior. Additionally, Epstein offered to help some victims by paying for travel and/or educational opportunities, and MAXWELL encouraged certain victims to accept Epstein’s assistance. As a result, victims were made to feel indebted and believed that MAXWELL and Epstein were trying to help them. MAXWELL also normalized and facilitated sexual abuse for a victim by discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when the victim was undressed, and encouraging the victim to massage Epstein.
As MAXWELL and Epstein intended, these grooming behaviors left minor victims vulnerable and susceptible to sexual abuse by Epstein. MAXWELL was then present for certain sexual encounters between minor victims and Epstein, such as interactions where a minor victim was undressed, and ultimately was present for sex acts perpetrated by Epstein on minor victims. That abuse included sexualized massages during which a minor victim was fully or partially nude, as well as group sexualized massages of Epstein involving a minor victim where MAXWELL was present. In some instances, MAXWELL participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims.
Ultimately minor victims were subjected to sexual abuse that included, among other things, the touching of a victim’s breasts or 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. MAXWELL and Epstein’s victims were groomed or abused at Epstein’s residences in New York, Florida, and New Mexico, as well as MAXWELL’s residence in London, England.
In the earlier phase of the conspiracy, from at least approximately 1994 through approximately 2001, MAXWELL and Epstein identified vulnerable girls, typically from single-mother households and difficult financial circumstances. This earlier phase required the defendant and Epstein to identify one girl at a time to target for grooming and abuse. In the later phase, from approximately 2001 until at least approximately 2004, MAXWELL and Epstein enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, minor girls to visit Epstein’s Palm Beach Residence to engage in sex acts with Epstein, after which Epstein, MAXWELL, or another employee of Epstein’s would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash. MAXWELL and Epstein encouraged one or more of those victims to travel with Epstein with the intention that the victim engage in sex acts with Epstein. Moreover, and in order to maintain and increase his supply of victims, MAXWELL and Epstein also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by Epstein. In this way, MAXWELL and Epstein created a network of underage victims for Epstein to sexually exploit.
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In addition to the prison sentence, MAXWELL, 60, was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $750,00 fine.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maurene Comey, Alison Moe, Lara Pomerantz, and Andrew Rohrbach are in charge of the prosecution.