In December last year, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted on charges of smuggling children for sexual purposes.
Maxwell was a longtime partner of Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious financier and sex offender who befriended countless billionaires and famous politicians, many of whom had fun on his private island.
Epstein died in his prison cell in 2019 while awaiting trial.
In a Manhattan courtroom today, Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly aiding Epstein in the grooming and sexual assault of several young girls.
Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking in Manhattan federal court on December 29
During the three-week trial, four women stood up to testify that Epstein sexually assaulted them when they were between 14 and 17 years old.
The women further alleged that they were rehabilitated by Maxwell, who also participated in the abuse on multiple occasions.
Several victim impact statements were read out in court during today’s sentencing hearing.
“Maxwell is today the same woman I met nearly 20 years ago – incapable of empathy or human morals,” one victim, Sarah Ransom, told the court.
“Because of her wealth, social standing, and connections, she believes in herself above blame and above law,” Ransom continued.
“Sentencing her for the rest of her life in prison will not change her, but it will give survivors a little sense of justice and help us as we continue to work to recover from the inferno of sex trafficking she has committed.”
“When a limit is exceeded or an expectation is violated, you say to yourself, ‘Someone who cares about me enough to do all these nice things surely won’t try to hurt me,’” said Annie Farmer, who has previously testified. She and her sister were abused by Maxwell.
“This style of thinking is cunning, so these seeds of self-doubt took root even when I learned that my sister had also been hurt by these thoughts, and found years later that many others had been taken advantage of.”
Prior to her sentencing, Maxwell addressed the court and apologized to her victims.
She said she hopes her “conviction and cruel imprisonment will bring you peace and an end.”
“Mine [association] With Epstein it will permanently stain me. It’s the biggest regret of my life [that] Maxwell said, according to Buzzfeed News.
Prosecutors called for Maxwell to be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Explaining her decision to agree to a lighter sentence, Judge Alison J. Nathan said she was careful to avoid punishing Maxwell “instead of Epstein or as Epstein’s agent”.
The former media mogul Maxwell has been linked to Epstein for nearly 30 years.
When their romance ended, Maxwell began helping with Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring.
She was arrested in July of 2020 after investigators claimed Maxwell was “the key to the entire operation”.
In the years since his mysterious death, Epstein has been the subject of countless conspiracy theories, and the many questions surrounding his death are unlikely to ever be answered.
But it is hoped that today’s ruling will lead to a small closure of the victims.