Members of the jury deliberated for six days until they came to the unanimous verdict: Ghislaine Maxwell is guilty on five of the six counts. The daughter of a British media mogul recruited minors and brought them to the very wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
She taught the young women to perform sexual massages and sometimes touched them herself, say the four plaintiffs. Ghislaine Maxwell made them docile and gave them a false sense of security. Some of the minors at the time were sexually abused for years. There are dozens more women who claim they have experienced something similar.
Epstein remained undisturbed for decades
The verdict against Ghislaine Maxwell comes nearly three years after the actual sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, died in a detention cell in New York. The official cause of death was suicide. Before that, the multi-millionaire and financial advisor to the super-rich had been able to commit his crimes unmolested for decades. Epstein was a convicted sex offender.
In a 2008 Florida court settlement, Epstein agreed to an exceptionally mild one-year prison sentence. In return, the public prosecutor promised him extensive immunity. A court later declared the settlement invalid, but only after a Miami investigative journalist uncovered dozens of other facts.
Many questions remain unanswered
The verdict against Ghislaine Maxwell is a direct admission that the U.S. judiciary has failed. It spared the perpetrator, who was networked in the highest circles of power. The sixty-year-old former Epstein confidante faces a prison sentence of up to 65 years.
But many questions remain unanswered: Was Jeffrey Epstein really a lone perpetrator? Didn’t the celebrities who flew in his private jets and romp about at his parties know about what was happening? And was Epstein’s death really a suicide? All of these questions may never be investigated.
USA correspondent, SRF
After studying in the USA and in Bern, Jacobi worked for Radio SRF from 1999 to 2005. She then worked as a freelance journalist in New York. In 2008 she returned to SRF as a producer at Echo der Zeit, and in 2012 became editor-in-chief. Jacobi has been the USA correspondent in Washington since summer 2017.