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Ghislaine Maxwell arrested and charged over sexual exploitation of underage girls by Jeffrey Epstein | US News

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British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been charged with playing a role in the “sexual exploitation and abuse” of multiple underage girls by Jeffrey Epstein, according to a court filing.

Maxwell, who has kept a low profile since Epstein’s death in August last year, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire on Thursday on charges related to the financier.

Epstein was accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over nearly two decades.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell on a pheasant shoot with Prince Andrew, Sandringham, Norfolk. Pic: Albanpix/Shutterstock
Image:
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell on a pheasant shoot in Sandringham. Pic: Albanpix/Shutterstock


Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have claimed Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.

Maxwell was a former partner of Epstein and one of his closest associates, and was also paid to manage his various properties.

She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said some of the claims against her were “absolute rubbish”.

One alleged Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claimed Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Prince Andrew at the socialite’s London townhouse.

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The Duke of York categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Roberts.

A court filing now made public says Maxwell “assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse” girls under the age of 18.

The indictment included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two counts of perjury.

According to the indictment, Maxwell attempt to befriend some of the alleged victims before their abuse, including by taking them to the cinema or shopping.

After gaining their trust, she would “try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by… discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein”, the indictment says.

In some instances, she would massage Epstein in front of girls and encourage them to take part in massages while they were fully or partially nude.

The alleged victims were abused in multiple locations, including Epstein’s homes in New York, Florida and Sante Fe, and Maxwell’s home in London, the indictment claims.

The documents allege Maxwell “repeatedly lied” about her involvement and perjured herself by saying “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when asked if Epstein schemed to recruit underage girls for sexual massages.

She also said she was unaware Epstein was having sexual activities with anyone – other than her and two other people – while she was with him.

Epstein was arrested last year in New York on charges of trafficking minors, but was found hanged in an apparent suicide in prison while awaiting trial.

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