Whistleblower describes how Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein abused her when she was 14

In the early days of Ghislaine Maxwell's trial, a woman accused her of befriending her as a child only to participate in the sexual abuse that followed.

One afternoon in 1994, a 14-year-old girl was eating ice cream with friends at a picnic table at an arts summer camp in Michigan when a "tall, thin woman" with "a pretty little Yorkie" walked by.

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The boys asked if they could touch the dog, but soon after they left, leaving the girl with the woman. Later, a man joined them and asked the young woman about the camp and her other interests. He said that he was a benefactor who donated to the camp and supported young talent. When the girl said that she lived in Palm Beach, Florida, the man said, "What a coincidence, we live there too." And he asked for her phone number.

Testifying Tuesday during Ghislaine Maxwell's sex trafficking trial, the 14-year-old Florida girl, now an adult woman identified by the court only as "Jane," described to the jury how a chance encounter with Maxwell, the yorkie wife, and Jeffrey Epstein led to years of sexual abuse.


Jane, the whistleblower

The abuse occurred at Epstein properties in Florida, New Mexico and New York and sometimes involved groups of people, she recounted. According to her, on some occasions, Maxwell also participated in the sexual acts.

In her statement, Jane said that for years she did not tell anyone about the abuse and she only confided in her loved ones in 2002, after she had broken off contact with Epstein. The woman, who said she worked as an actress, did not tell authorities about her allegations until after Epstein's death in 2019, in part because she said she was worried about professional repercussions in Hollywood.

Jane was the first accuser to testify during the trial, and she described how Maxwell and Epstein drew her into their lives and how what seemed to be a special relationship, a kind of mentorship, soon turned into sexual abuse.

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Weeks after her initial meeting in Michigan, Jane said, she returned home from her school—she was starting eighth grade—to learn that Epstein had called to invite her and her mother to tea. at her residence. A driver picked them up and took them to Epstein's home.

It was the first of many visits she would make for her but her mother never accompanied her again. She said the house was impressive, like Epstein and Maxwell, though their demeanors could sometimes be confusing or overwhelming.

Describing those early days, Jane sometimes laughed at herself, made a big fuss, and spoke directly to the jury. But as she recounted the abuse—and later when Maxwell's attorney attempted to challenge her memories of her during the confrontation—Jane's tone grew more serious.


For several moments during Jane's deposition, Maxwell leaned in front of her in his chair at the defense table, put on a pair of glasses and took notes.

“There was a lot of bragging from the beginning that they were friends with basically everyone,” Jane said, adding that Maxwell and Epstein mentioned names to show off, she recalled referring to the likes of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Mike Wallece. The effect was to suggest that "they were very well connected and well off."

As a 'weird' older sister

Soon Jane was visiting Epstein's house in Palm Beach every week or two, and Maxwell was often there. At first, Maxwell was kind of an older sister, "weird" and "quirky," Jane said, "but she was cute." Jane said Maxwell took her to the movies and to shop for cashmere shirts and sweaters and to Victoria's Secret for "basic" underwear, like "white cotton panties."

But soon after, Maxwell started talking to her about sex, Jane said. One day, she recounted, Maxwell was with a group of women who were topless or nude around Epstein's pool.

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Another day, when she was still 14, she was talking to Epstein in her office when he told her that she could introduce him to talent scouts and “make things happen” for her. She then “abruptly” ended the conversation, took her hand and said “follow me” as he led her to the pool house.

Epstein then led her to a couch and took off her pants. He pulled her towards him and "proceeded to masturbate," she testified in a broken voice. After she finished, she said, she went to the bathroom to clean up and "acted like nothing had happened."

"She was paralyzed with fear," said Jane. She stated that she did not tell anyone about what had happened at the pool house, adding, "I was terrified and felt disgusted and embarrassed."

Shortly after that incident, Maxwell joined them in Epstein's room; as the two adults touched each other they guided her to join them. On subsequent visits, she was taken to the massage room and Maxwell explained how she liked Epstein to be massaged.

A prosecutor, Alison Moe, questioned him about Maxwell's behavior during those incidents.

"I would say it seemed very casual, like it was very normal, like it was no big deal," Jane said.

Jane's often emotional testimony came on the second day of Maxwell's trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on charges that she helped Epstein groom and eventually sexually abuse minors as young as 14. .


Prosecutors have said that Jane and three other accusers, all now adults, will testify under pseudonyms or only part of their names.

The defense made it abundantly clear that it plans to undermine Jane's credibility in the confrontation by implying that she is acting and that she only decided to cooperate with the government and implicate Maxwell because she believed it would help her file a claim with the Epstein victims' fund, which He gave him $5 million.

During the afternoon of Tuesday, one of Maxwell's lawyers, Laura Menninger, began the questioning by pressing Jane about the time it took her to report her allegations and tried to show the gaps in her memory of adolescence. of her in Florida.

Before that, Moe, the prosecutor, asked Jane if she had ever publicly revealed her identity as a victim of Epstein and Maxwell.

No, Jane said, and she wasn't interested.

“I always wanted to put this behind me. I moved on with my life,” Jane said. "I work in the entertainment industry and victim blaming is still very much with us today." Public speaking, she said, could also affect her career.

“I didn't want anything to do with it,” she said. "I just wanted it to go away." (I)

Lola Fadulu contributed reporting.

Benjamin Weiser is a reporter who covers the federal courts in Manhattan. He has long covered criminal justice, both as an investigative reporter and as a journalist. Before joining the Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. @BenWeiserNYT

Rebecca Davis O'Brien covers law enforcement and the courts in New York. She previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, where she was part of a team that won a 2019 Pulitzer in national reporting for investigating stories about secret payments made on behalf of Donald Trump to two women.