Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted on five counts of human trafficking.
Maxwell60, recruited young girls for her former boyfriend, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, in the 1990s and early 2000s.
He abused girls as young as 14 at his properties in New York, Florida, New Mexico, and his private island in the US Virgin Islands of Little St James, known by locals as “Pedophile Island.”
Judge Alison Nathan sentenced her to 20 years in prison with five years of supervised release, telling the court, “The damage to these girls was incalculable.”
“Whether you are rich or powerful, no one is above the law”
The judge said Maxwell’s victims were forced to endure the “painful, horrific and lasting impact of that trauma.”
The judge said Maxwell did not appear to show any remorse or take responsibility.
Judge Nathan added: “Those who engage in and facilitate sexual abuse will be held accountable by law.
“Whether you are rich or powerful, no one is above the law.”
She described Maxwell’s behavior as “abominable and predatory”.
Addressing her victims directly, she said: “To you, all the victims who have come today, in and out of court… I am sorry for the pain you have experienced.
“I hope my punishment brings you some closure… peace and finality. To help you put those experiences in a place that will move you forward.”
She said she was “sorry” for the pain his victims experienced and that she understood that her association with Epstein would follow and “stain” her forever.
She said, “It’s the biggest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein.”
Maxwell said that knowledge of the ramifications of her crimes “tortures me every day”, and that she hoped the phrase “closes this terrible chapter and…helps you travel from darkness to light”.
Victim Sarah Ransome told the press she wanted to see Maxwell die in prison “because I’ve been in hell for the past 17 years and back”.
Another victim, Annie Farmer, said in court that her experience of being exploited by Maxwell had “caused great embarrassment,” at times making her feel like she wanted to “disappear.”
“Today I can look at Ghislaine and tell her that I have become what I am today, despite her and her attempts to make me feel
powerless and insignificant, and I will throw that empowerment on my daughter,” she said.
She described Maxwell’s apology as “hollow” and felt she had not taken responsibility for the crimes she had committed.
Maxwell called Epstein a “manipulative, cunning and controlling man” who fooled everyone around him.
Maxwell’s lawyers had argued that she should receive a sentence of between four years and three months and five years and three months, since she had already served two of them in a federal prison in New York.
They claimed she had become the subject of a media witch-hunt over her relationship with Epstein, had been repeatedly assaulted behind bars, and placed on suicide watch.
She appeared in court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday morning in a prison blue shirt with a longer white shirt underneath, glasses and a COVID mask.
Four victims testified during her trial. Two of them and another four were allowed to speak at the sentencing.
Among them was Virginia Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts, the woman who accused Prince Andrew of child sexual abuse – a claim he vehemently denies.
Annie Farmer, Teresa Helm, Sarah Ransome, Elizabeth Stein and a woman who used the pseudonym “Kate” also issued emotional victim statements.
Maxwell approached 14-year-old who ate an ice cream
At trial, a woman dubbed “Jane” to protect her 22-year acting career said she was first abused by Epstein at age 14.
She was eating ice cream at a music camp when Maxwell approached her.
Jane said later that year that Epstein invited her to his home in Palm Beach, Florida, where she was “frozen with fear” when he first exposed himself and started masturbating.
She said that both he and Maxwell had sexual acts with her.
£300 massages by underage girls
Another victim, Carolyn, who only used her real first name, said Maxwell would make arrangements for her to give Epstein massages at age 14.
She was paid between $300 and $400 (£227 and £303) each time.
“Kate”, the other woman who used an alias during the trial, said she was invited to have tea with Maxwell at her London mansion in 1994.
Just weeks later, she was invited again – this time to massage Epstein.
Photos show how Maxwell and Epstein were partners in crime
The only victim to testify under her real name at the trial was Annie Farmer, who described in detail how she was taken to Epstein’s ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico and abused.
She said she was only 16 when Maxwell rubbed her breasts and Epstein slept with her.
Some of the victims’ attorneys allege that Maxwell and Epstein were responsible for abusing more than 160 girls while they were together.
He was found dead in a Manhattan jail while waiting to be tried on sex trafficking charges in 2019.