Ghislaine Maxwell, the jet-setting socialite who once rubbed shoulders with royals, presidents and billionaires, has been handed a 20-year prison sentence for helping the wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls.
The sentencing was the culmination of a prosecution that detailed how the couple flaunted their riches and prominent connections to lure vulnerable girls as young as 14 and exploit them.
Prosecutors said Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial, sexually abused children hundreds of times over more than a decade, and couldn’t have done so without the help of Maxwell, his longtime companion and one-time girlfriend.
“Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly predatory. She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Their victims have finally seen justice done against Maxwell and some have now had their say to her directly in court.
Here’s a look at what some of her victims said in their statements.
Annie Farmer, who was 16 when she met Maxwell, was one of four to testify during the trial.
In her statement, she said she will still be “triggered” by the memory of what was done to her.
“For a long time, I wanted to erase from my mind the crimes that Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein committed against me and pretend they hadn’t happened,” she said.
“Beyond my initial description to my boyfriend and family of what occurred when I was with them in New Mexico, I didn’t talk about it for years.
“It was the type of dark memory that feels safest to keep locked away, and so I did the best I could.
She added: “One of the most painful and ongoing impacts of Maxwell and Epstein’s abuse was a loss of trust in myself, my perceptions, and my instincts.”
The British accuser of Ghislaine Maxwell, who gave evidence under the pseudonym “Kate” during the trial, chose to read a different speech to the one she had submitted in a written format.
Speaking at the hearing on Tuesday, she said: “Ghislaine’s lack of remorse and blatant refusal to take responsibility for her crimes towards us is her final insult.
“Someone who even had a difficult or abusive father does not excuse sex trafficking of minors.
“A lack of remorse or responsibility from Ghislaine is exactly how we can tell that she doesn’t think what she did was wrong. She is not sorry and she would do it again.”
In her written statement, she described Maxwell’s “relentless and insatiable drive” to meet the “sexual needs of Epstein.”
“I began writing this statement on Mother’s Day, because, it has been my experience, that it was only in becoming a mother, to a daughter, that gave me the courage and impetus to speak out about the abuse I had suffered and made me understand the gravity and horror of what had taken place,” she wrote.
“The best way to imprison someone, is to make them create the prison bars in their own mind, to instil enough fear to make sure they never risk leaving or disobeying and make the bars invisible to everyone, so that no one can see their cage, or hear their silent screams.”
Virginia Giuffre – formally Roberts – said Maxwell “opened the door to hell” as she wrote that she was like a new mother to dozens of girls and young women she fed to her financier boyfriend and later boss.
“Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it.”
She added: “You could have put an end to the rapes, the molestations, the sickening manipulations that you arranged, witnessed and even took part in.
“You could’ve called the authorities and reported that you were a part of something awful... Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell.
“You deserve to be trapped in a cage forever, just like you trapped your victims.”
Calling Maxwell “dangerous and devious,” Maria Farmer, Annie Farmer’s sister, said her intersection with the pair and sexual assault by Epstein during a trip to Ohio cost her a promising career as an artist and leaves her still feeling unsafe outside, firm in a belief that Maxwell will harm her “if she ever has a way".
“Ghislaine changed everything for the worse,” she added.
“She seemingly derailed me without thought, after I got in her way. She assured me that I could be killed walking down my [favourite] path in NYC.”
She also wrote: “Her threats have never left my mind and I believe she will harm me if she ever has a way.
“Please keep this in mind when determining her terms of imprisonment. She is a very dangerous and devious individual.”
Juliette Bryant simply wrote: “Ghislaine Maxwell is a monster. Ever since she and Jeffrey Epstein got their hands on me, I have never felt okay.
“Thinking about them still gives me frequent panic attacks and night terrors. All of the victims, including myself, are eternally grateful for everyone that has helped expose these criminals.
“I appreciate Your Honour imposing the maximum sentence available.”
Teresa Helms wrote: "Ghislaine Maxwell, I was 22 years old when you entirely derailed the trajectory of my life.
“You made a choice to view me as an individual less than you. You saw me as an object whose only purpose was to be manipulated, used, abused, regarded as trash, and sent back from where I came.
“You meticulously convinced me through your deceptive charm and conversation that you were someone worthy of my bright and inspired young mind to look up to.
“You crafted your impact on me. You groomed me. Then, you sent me off to another monster. I trusted you. You had groomed me so well, I unsuspectingly walked myself to the home of that monster.
“I walked myself to the home of that predator that hurt me. You manipulated and betrayed me into feeling and believing that I was safe.
"One of the most devastating outcomes to you hurting me is how I then began to view and treat myself.
“I began to view myself as unworthy of love. I began treating myself as the garbage I was regarded as. My life got so dark, the despair so intense, I nearly did not make it out alive. Do you even remember me?
“I am on the outside of prison walls. Freedom. Yet, I will forever fight for the freedom that you callously stole from me.”
Included were nine graphic pictures of Sarah Ransome taken in a hospital bed after two suicide attempts she blames on the trauma of over a half year spent as a “sex toy".
The experience left her so distressed, she wrote, that she once considered jumping from a cliff into shark-infested waters off Epstein's sprawling Virgin Islands estate.
Ms Ransome, who wrote a book “Silenced No More” and travelled from her England home to observe Maxwell's trial, said she was stopped from taking the plunge by “Maxwell and company” moments before jumping.
“I became, against my will, nothing more than a sex toy with a heartbeat and soul used to entertain Epstein, Maxwell and others,” she said.
“On one visit to the island, the sexual demands, degradation and humiliation caused me to try to escape by jumping off a cliff into shark-infested waters; I was caught by Maxwell and company moments before jumping.
“At the time, that extremely risky escape seemed more appealing than being raped one more time.”