Victims of Ghislaine Maxwell branded her a “monster” and accused her of “opening the door to hell” by introducing them to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in impact statements to the court for her sentencing.
The 60-year-old socialite was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday (28 June) after she was convicted in December of five charges, including sex trafficking minors for sexual encounters with disgraced financier Epstein.
In their remarks to the court, Maxwell’s victims told of her “relentless and insatiable drive to meet the sexual needs of Epstein” and their “retraumatisation” over having to give evidence during the trial.
Four victims – Annie Farmer, Elizabeth Stein, Sarah Ransome and Kate – appeared at the sentencing hearing in person to read portions of their statements. Virginia Giuffre, one of the most high-profile accusers whose claims were not part of the indictment, was not present at the hearing but part of her statement was read by her lawyer.
The Independent has compiled excerpts of all the victim impact statements below:
“Ghislaine, 22 years ago, in the summer of 2000, you spotted me at the Mar-a-Lago Hotel in Florida, and you made a choice. You chose to follow me and procure me for Jeffrey Epstein.
“Just hours later, you and he abused me together for the first time. Together, you damaged me physically, mentally, sexually, and emotionally.
“Together, you did unthinkable things that still have a corrosive impact on me to this day.
“I want to be clear about one thing: without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible paedophile. But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you.
“For me, and for so many others, you opened the door to hell.
“And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it.
“When you did that, Ghislaine, you changed the course of our lives forever. You joked that you were like a new mother to us.”
Simply put, Ghislaine Maxwell is a monster.
“Ever since she and Jeffrey Epstein got their hands on me, I have never felt OK.
“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 honor imposing the maximum sentence available.”
“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.”
“I came to New York at age 22, wanting to start my life over after an incredibly abusive relationship. I hoped to attend FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and work in the fashion industry.
“Soon after arriving, I met an Epstein/Maxwell recruiter named Natalya Malyshev in a club. She befriended me and, soon after that, arranged for me to meet Jeffery.
“She described him as a kind philanthropist who could help me get into FIT and provide much-needed support, something which was alien to me.
“Over the next seven to eight months, I became, against my will, nothing more than a human sex toy with a heartbeat and soul for the entertainment of Epstein, Maxwell and others.
“Sometimes I was subjected to sexual predation multiple times per day, both in his New York mansion and on his private island, St Little James in the US Virgin Islands.
“On one visit to the island, the sexual demands, degradation and humiliation became so horrific that I tried to escape by attempting to jump off a cliff into shark-infested waters, but was caught by Maxwell and company moments before jumping.
“At the time, the extremely risky escape seemed more appealing than being raped one more time.”
“In the most literal sense of the word, Epstein and Maxwell terrified me.
“They told me that if I told anyone, nobody would believe me and if they did, they would kill me and the people closest to me. I believed them. I was once bright, fun, outgoing and kind.
“I loved life and people genuinely enjoyed being around me. After meeting Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, it felt like someone shut off the lights to my soul.
“My secrets became too much for me to handle and I began doing whatever I could to try to get away from Maxwell and Epstein. I changed jobs, apartments, cities and even states to try to get away.
“Everywhere I went, they found me. In 1997, I moved to Philadelphia with the hopes of finally starting law school.
“They found me again and it was more than I could take. I was hospitalised with a nervous breakdown.
“It would be the first of over two dozen hospitalisations in the decades following my involvement with Epstein and Maxwell.”
“I remember sitting at my desk in a Houston hospital physically shaking after seeing the photo of Maxwell with Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew because it became clear to me how their scheme had continued; the time an unexpected security screening from a TSA agent who patted down my chest with the back of her hand left me crying and disoriented at the airport; a 40th birthday gathering where I broke down crying telling the story to some friends for the first time.
“There are too many of these moments to name, and though I have come a long way in my path of healing, I know that these feelings will continue to be triggered at times.
“The ripple effects of trauma are undeniable, when one person is abused, many others are harmed.
“In addition to the way I was impacted as an individual, there was the pain I experienced as a sister due to how Maria was abused by Maxwell and Epstein, and the harm caused to the rest of my family due to these events.
“My sister’s abuse – the sexual assault, Maxwell’s threats that stole her sense of safety and her career, the way they used her to get to me – had devastating effects on her and as my family watched her grow more isolated and more visually ill from the stress of all of it, we all felt powerless.
“It was heartbreaking and infuriating, and we later learned how often this pattern was repeated. A young person on the path of pursuing her dreams was pulled in by Maxwell, was abused and exploited, and then had to try to piece together a life in the aftermath of this trauma that left them feeling distrustful and fearful.”
“The consequences of what Ghislaine Maxwell did have been far reaching for me. I have struggled with, and eventually triumphed over, substance use disorder.
“I have suffered panic attacks and night terrors, with which I still struggle. I have suffered low self esteem, loss of career opportunities.
I have battled greatly with feeling unable to trust my own instincts in choosing romantic relationships. I have had a hard time identifying dangerous people or situations. I have also suffered periods of disassociation.
“At the age of 45, at 19 years of continuous sobriety and, after many years of engaging in different modalities of therapy, I am beginning to see some light in deprogramming my own mind and body from the messages I was programmed with because of this abuse.
“What happened to me at that young age changed the course of my life drastically forever.”
“It should be known that Ghislaine’s impact on my life cannot be understated. Once she gleaned from Vicky Ward (Vanity Fair) that I went to the FBI, my life no longer belonged to me.
“Aside from living in poverty and obscurity, I have also now had to face public scrutiny as a whistleblower. I am bullied regularly.
“Ghislaine changed everything for the worse. She seemingly derailed me without thought, after I got in her way.
“She assured me that I could be killed walking down my favorite path in NYC (New York City). I never feel safe outside as a result of the massive trauma from being held captive by Wexner’s thugs via Ghislaine and Jeffrey.
“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.”