Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of helping Epstein sexually abuse minor girls
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was on Wednesday convicted of recruiting young girls to be sexually abused by the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was accused of providing teenagers to Epstein between 1994 to 2004. She was found guilty of five of the six charges brought against her. She now faces 65 years in prison.
Why does this story matter?
Epstein's sex trafficking ring was associated with several high-profile persons, including Prince Andrew, former US President Donald Trump, billionaire Bill Gates. The Epstein sex scandal had come to light after the global #MeToo movement against sexual crimes. Public pressure grew to arrest others involved in the sex trafficking ring after Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while facing trial.
What were the charges against Maxwell?
Sex trafficking of a minor (punishable by up to 40 years in prison). Transferring a juvenile for illicit sexual activity (punishable by up to 10 years in prison). Conspiracy to transport and lure minors for engaging in illicit sexual activity (punishable by up to five years in prison). Conspiracy to engage in minor sex trafficking (punishable by up to five years in prison).
'No one is above the law'
"I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty," said Annie Farmer, a victim who testified at the trial. She said many other women were hurt by Maxwell who could not turn up to testify. Farmer said the verdict "demonstrates that no one is above the law."
What will happen to Maxwell now?
Maxwell's punishment is still to be determined by US District Judge Alison Nathan. However, Maxwell's lawyer Bobbi Sternheim said the result was disappointing. "We have already started working on the appeal, and we are confident that she will be vindicated," Sternheim added. Maxwell will be sent back to Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she has been since July 2020.