Ghislaine Maxwell charged with grooming underage girls
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been charged with facilitating the sexual abuse of underage girls by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Ms Maxwell was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Hampshire on Thursday, on charges relating to her long-time associate and former boyfriend.
The 58-year-old kept a low profile following Epstein’s death in August 2019.
Acting US attorney for the southern district of New York Audrey Strauss said Ms Maxwell played a “critical role” in helping Epstein “identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse”.
A number of Epstein’s alleged victims claimed Ms Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.
It is also alleged Ms Maxwell took part in some of the abuse.
Ms Maxwell is charged with counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury.
One alleged victim of Epstein, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claimed Ms Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Prince Andrew at the socialite’s London townhouse.
The Duke of York categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Roberts.
Ms Strauss said investigators would “welcome” a statement from Prince Andrew in relation to the scandal.