The case against Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate to Jeffrey Epstein, now includes allegations that she groomed a minor around the age of 14 so she could later be sexually abused by Epstein.
The revelation was included in a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday, which leveled two additional charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor against Maxwell. The 14-year-old is referred to as “minor victim-4" in the court documents, denoting that she is the fourth underage victim Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming, according to the Miami Herald.
The indictment describes Maxwell as interacting with the 14-year-old victim “on multiple occasions” at Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, “knowing that Minor-Victim 4 was under the age of 18 at the time.”
The alleged grooming took between around 2001 and 2004, during which time Maxwell would attempt to “normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct”—by discussing sexual topics with her, undressing in front of her, and being around her while she was undressed—so that the 14-year-old could later provide Epstein with nude massages that involved “multiple sex acts.” Maxwell is also said to have encouraged the minor to help her recruit other young girls for the same purposes.
“In response, Minor Victim-4 brought multiple females, including girls under the age of 18, to provide sexualized massages for Epstein at the Palm Beach Residence,” the indictment reads. “On such occasions, both Minor Victim-4 and the girl she brought were paid hundreds of dollars in cash.”
As the Guardian notes, the new allegations expand the timeframe in which Maxwell is believed to have acted as Epstein’s accomplice and co-abuser, previously thought to be a period from 1994 to 1997. Monday’s court filing suggests this period lasted an entire decade, up until at least 2004, when she was grooming her and Epstein’s 14-year-old victim.
Maxwell was arrested by the FBI in July, on charges of helping Epstein abuse girls and, in some cases, perpetrating sexual abuse herself. Immediately following her arrest, a 32-year-old named Jennifer Araoz came forward with her account of being abused and raped by Epstein when she was just 15.
In the months since, more information has slowly emerged about Epstein and Maxwell’s victims, each detail seemingly more harrowing than the last, if such a thing were possible to measure. As we continue to learn more about the precise nature of the abuse, we also get a better sense of exactly how Maxwell used the assumption of women as inherently benevolent and trustworthy—as well as her social standing—to conduct Epstein’s vast trafficking scheme.
“Women are capable of perpetrating abuse. Women are capable of perpetrating abuse,” Tracy Clark-Flory wrote for Jezebel in 2019, just after accusations against Maxwell began to surface. “What an insanely obvious statement, and yet it is apparently necessary to keep saying, even amid the evidence of it.”