U.S. federal investigators they have arrested British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime companion of the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on charges she solicited minors for sex with Epstein.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors confirmed 58-year-old Maxwell was taken into custody Thursday in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, where the FBI says they had been monitoring her.
At a news conference in New York City, Acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss detailed how Maxwell, beginning “in at least 1994,” enticed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein. Straus said Maxwell sometimes would participate in the sex acts herself.
Strauss said Maxwell would develop a rapport with the victims, and “then tried to normalize sexual abuse with a minor victim though a process known as grooming. For example, Maxwell would discuss sexual topics with the victim and undress in front of the victim or be present for sex acts involving the minor victims and Epstein."
The 66-year-old Epstein apparently hanged himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The daughter of late British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. She repeatedly denied the accusations and, until now, had never been charged.
Maxwell was expected to make a court appearance in New Hampshire later on Thursday.