In Ghislaine Maxwell: Making a MonsterIn a three-part documentary starting Tuesday on Channel 4 in the UK, the former managers of Epstein’s Caribbean estate explain that Maxwell had been tasked with finding him an endless conveyor belt of massage therapists – “the younger the better” .
Maxwell “just made sure he got his massages,” they recall. “Come or high tide, she made sure he was happy.”
For the first few months, Rhodes massaged Maxwell. When she apparently passed the sampling, she was taken to Epstein. Maxwell walked her to his room and repeated again that “whatever happens during the massage, keep to yourself”.
Inside, Maxwell undressed, dressed again, and then left — after which Rhodes massaged Epstein. After that bizarre introduction, the session went very smoothly, she recalls. He actually wanted to help her.
Epstein told Rhodes it was “kind of my thing” to empower people to achieve their dreams, adding that he would fly her to New York to meet record label executives. He duly did and when they returned to the Caribbean, she gave him another massage. This time she had to rub his nipples while he masturbated.
Rhodes now struggles to talk about what happened, still taken aback by the first in a string of such encounters, and why she couldn’t “just jump off the roller coaster” Maxwell had put her on.
Being sworn to secrecy acted as an effective means of isolation, leaving her too afraid to seek help and convinced that she had done something wrong to be treated that way.
Now, 20 years later, at age 45, she can see that “because of” [Maxwell]“I was mistreated by him. She was calculated and manipulative every step of the way.” There is no doubt, she says, that Maxwell “knew exactly what she was doing with all these women—girls, and she did it with joy; with the joy of what that power brings her. And that’s just disgusting.”
It’s clear how raw the abuse left her, leading to a lull that lasted until two summers ago when she saw a documentary about Epstein’s “pedophile island” on Netflix. She was staying with her family in the Midwest and told them what had happened. Then, another two weeks later, she ended up with her husband.
“I felt so ashamed and embarrassed because I had never really done anything with it at the time. And I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘This wasn’t your fault, you didn’t do this because these were predators. You are a victim’. I hadn’t heard that yet.”
Rhodes, who went on tour with Fleetwood Mac, says she’s tired of living in fear. “I want to make this my story, not that this story owns me,” she says.
It’s a mindset attorney Sigrid McCawley has heard repeated many times in the eight years since she first began representing Epstein’s victims, several of whom sat in the New York courthouse, serving a 20-year sentence for Maxwells. role in a high-society sex trafficking ring was announced.
“I don’t think there’s always a lot of closure for abuse survivors,” McCawley says. “But I do think it’s a relief to know that they fought the battle.”
McCawley, who is featured in the documentary and also litigated in Virginia Giuffre’s civil suit against Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, says her clients have been given great peace of mind that Ghislaine will spend the rest of her life in prison. to sit.
She believes that regardless of privilege, the ruling “sends a message — that if you’re guilty of that kind of behavior, you’ll be held accountable.” Still, it’s not over yet: The lawyer says US authorities should do more to bring others involved in the Maxwell smuggling ring to justice.
In court, the 60-year-old daughter of disgraced media mogul Robert Maxwell was always an “obstructivist” — half answering questions with “a sense of entitlement” that suggested, “I know presidents. I know princes. And I shouldn’t be concerned about these kinds of accusations,” McCawley said.
“Even now it is very clear to me that she takes no responsibility for her crimes. She never apologized directly for what she did,” something McCawley says will be against Maxwell if she appeals her sentence.
For Rhodes, the resolution is further away. When she first heard Maxwell’s sentence, she said she was “sick in my stomach. It’s not like a good, solid 65 or 55 or 45 [years]† I feel like she came off very lightly.” As for the prospect of Maxwell trying to reduce her sentence through the courts, Rhodes is shocked. “You’re in jail for so many reasons…and you’re still thinking always you’re right?” she says incredulously. “Go to hell.”
It will take some time for the wounds to heal, if ever, and for Rhodes to feel ready to talk to other victims. And to tell her daughter, 11, what she’s been through.
Rhodes now performs both singing and singing lessons, with each group of children reciting the same mantra three times and teaching singing: “I’m worth it, I’m confident and I love myself.”
In this way, she believes, she is safe in the knowledge that they will “have that to fall back on for the rest of their lives,” no matter what dire circumstances may arise. If she can teach them that courage, “I say,” she says. “I am not a victim; I help empower other people.”
National Sexual Violence, Family and Domestic Violence Counseling Line: 1800 737 732. Lifeline: 13 11 14†
The London Telegraph
Receive a note directly from our foreign correspondents about what makes headlines around the world. Sign up here for the weekly What in the World newsletter†