Prosecutors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial for child sex trafficking in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday presented a witness who was once the kind of underage teenager the Briton is said to have fallen prey to.
At 14, “Carolyn” was vulnerable. She had an alcoholic mother and a 17-year-old boyfriend, and had been raped and assaulted by her grandfather from the age of four. She needed the money.
Prosecutors allege Maxwell procured girls between 1994 and 2004 from financier Jeffrey Epstein, who sexually abused them.
Epstein, a convicted sex offender who included Prince Andrew and former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton among his associates, committed suicide in a New York prison in August 2019, pending his own sex trafficking trial.
Maxwell, 59, the daughter of the late British publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, was arrested in July 2020 in New Hampshire, for his alleged role in recruiting underage adolescents for Epstein, some of whom were as young as 14. . Now on trial on six counts, Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Carolyn, who used her first name, was the third accuser to testify at the New York trial. She alleged that Maxwell coordinated sexualized massages with Epstein, starting at the age of 14. At one point, she said, Maxwell assessed the girl’s naked body and touched her chest.
Carolyn said Virginia Giuffre – a longtime accuser of Epstein and Maxwell – introduced them to her Palm Beach mansion in the early 2000s. Carolyn’s boyfriend at the time knew Giuffre, so that’s how that they met.
“Virginia asked me if I wanted to come and make some money,” Carolyn said in court, later testifying that Giuffre was 18 at the time.
“Did Virginia tell you what you had to do to earn this money?” Asked prosecutor Maurene Comey.
“Not right away,” Carolyn said. Giuffre, she said, told her they were going to her friend’s house on Palm Beach Island to “give her a massage.” They arrived and entered through the kitchen, she said, adding: “We were greeted by Mrs Maxwell. Giuffre told Maxwell “that I was his friend,” she said.
“What did Maxwell say?” Comey asked.
“You can take him upstairs and show him what to do.” “
“We went up the stairs to the kitchen and walked past several bedrooms and entered Mr. Epstein’s bedroom, his bathroom. “
Giuffre, Carolyn said, took a massage table out of the closet.
“Virginia had taken her clothes off and she asked me if I would be comfortable taking mine off,” she said, “and I told her I would like to keep my bra and my shoes on. underwear. “
Epstein walked in, she said, and climbed onto the face-down massage table. After 45 minutes, he turned around and “Virginia got on top of him” and had sex with him, Carolyn said.
Carolyn sat on the bathroom sofa, she said. She said she had $ 300 left on the bathroom counter.
Giuffre alleged that Maxwell and Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17. Maxwell denies it, as does Andrew.
Carolyn said she returned to Epstein, but not with Giuffre. Maxwell took her phone number, she said, and would call to schedule massages.
Voice crackling, Carolyn wiped her eyes after revealing that she had visited Epstein “over 100” times between the ages of 14 and 18. Sometimes, she said, she would make appointments. She needed money to take drugs.
“Marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, anything that could block… the date. “
Carolyn said she and Maxwell spoke about “random personal things” including her past sexual abuse. Maxwell asked her about sex toys and touched her, she said.
“I was upstairs to set up the massage table and at that point I was pretty comfortable because I had been there so many times,” she said. “I was getting completely naked, and she walked in and felt my breasts, my hips and my butt and said… I had a wonderful body for Mr. Epstein and his friends. She just said I had a good body type.
Maxwell left the room and Epstein entered, Carolyn said. She was still only 14 years old.
Over time, she said, Epstein’s abuse came to include vaginal penetration and group sex. An associate of Epstein took pictures of her naked, she said. During sexualized massages with Epstein, Carolyn said, she told him about her “fucked up family life,” including past abuse.
Carolyn burst into tears when she said the money Epstein gave her was to ‘buy drugs’. When she was around 15 or 16, she said, she brought friends over to Epstein’s. She stopped seeing him at 18, she says, when she was “too old.”
The second accuser in Maxwell’s trial testified on Monday, under a pseudonym, Kate. She alleged that Maxwell asked her to find young women for Epstein because his sexual demands were insatiable.
The trial continues.
- Information and support for anyone affected by issues of rape or sexual abuse is available from the following organizations. In the United States, Rainn offers assistance at 800-656-4673. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers assistance on 0808 802 9999. In Australia, assistance is available on 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines are available at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html