On Wednesday (December 29), Ghislaine Maxwell (60), the former British socialite connected to the charged sex trafficking offender and successful multi-millionaire financier Jeffery Epstein, was found guilty of luring teenage girls to Epstein to be sexually abused.
Epstein died by suicide in his jail cell in 2019, a month after he was indicted on federal sex trafficking charges.
The jury found Maxwell guilty on five of the six counts she was charged with. The charges included sex trafficking minors, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and the three counts of conspiracy, and bring a maximum prison sentence of 65 years.
Annie Farmer was one of four accusers who testified against Maxwell. All four of Maxwell’s accusers were under the age of 18, with some being as young as 14 when they were groomed by Maxwell. Farmer told “Good Morning America” that Maxwell’s guilty verdict was “a tremendous relief,” expressing that she wasn’t sure “that this day would ever come.”
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“I am so relieved and grateful that the jury recognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwell engaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes,” Farmer said. “I hope that this verdict brings solace to all who need it and demonstrates that no one is above the law. Even those with great power and privilege will be held accountable when they sexually abuse and exploit the young.”
Farmer was 16 years old when she was groomed by Maxwell and brought to Epstein. As a psychologist, Farmer now helps others who have experienced similar circumstances.
Activist, abuse survivor, and attorney Rachael Denhollander said, “This is a critical step in the fight for justice and cultural change around the issue of sexual assault.” Denhollander is a former gymnast and was the first woman to step forward publicly and accuse former USA Gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. Her courage led to hundreds of other abuse survivors coming forward and testifying against Nassar in 2018. Although the former doctor denied the allegations, he later pleaded guilty under a plea agreement which has put him behind bars for the rest of his life.
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“What was on display in this trial was the rebuttal, yet again, of the most common rape myths that cripple our societal response to abuse,” Denhollander wrote on Twitter. “1. The idea that memories of abuse are easy to implant and frequently inaccurate or manufactured. 2. The oft-repeated trope that survivors come forward because they are motivated by money and fame. 3. An in-depth portrayal of how grooming and trafficking really happens, and why so many survivors don’t ‘just fight back.’ This is a critical reality we need to understand. 4. And yet again, a painful reminder of what survivors face when they do speak up.”