GHISLAINE Maxwell was tonight portrayed as a vile and sinister predator who spent years grooming girls as young as 14 for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse.
Sordid details of the alleged abuse emerged in bombshell charges filed against her by US prosecutors after an FBI investigation
It is claimed that socialite Maxwell, 58 — a pal of Prince Andrew — acted as fixer, manipulator, groomer and pimp for her billionaire ex-boyfriend.
She is said to have played a “critical role” in helping monster Epstein “to identify, befriend and groom” his victims.
New York attorney Audrey Strauss said “in some cases Maxwell participated in the abuse herself” at swish properties —— including her London residence.
The 18-page indictment against Maxwell says: “In particular, from at least about 1994, up to and including in or about 1997, Maxwell assisted, facilitated and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls.
“By, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.
“The victims were as young as 14 when they were groomed and abused by Maxwell and Epstein, both of whom knew certain victims were in fact under the age of 18.”
‘VICTIMS AS YOUNG AS 14’
The indictment details how Maxwell befriended three alleged victims — who cannot be named.
The girls were taken on shopping trips and to the cinema to gain their trust.
The papers say Maxwell asked them how school was going and about their family life.
She allegedly went on to start “normalising sexual behaviour” to the victims — on one occasion stripping off in front of one of the teenagers.
Prosecutors say Maxwell would encourage the girls to give Epstein massages before joining in to perform sex acts with the victims.
Court papers state: “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalise sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed and/or being present for sex acts.
“Maxwell’s presence . . . helped put victims at ease because an adult woman was present.
“For instance, Maxwell would massage Epstein in front of minor victims. Many of those massages resulted in Epstein sexually abusing the minor victims. Victims were made to feel indebted and believed Maxwell and Epstein were trying to help them. Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated Epstein’s access to minor victims knowing that he had a preference for underage girls.”
Maxwell faces four charges over claims of abuse against three girls under 18 — said to have taken place in London, New York, Florida and New Mexico.
Court papers say Victim 1 was abused by Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse and Florida estate.
They add that Victim 2 was sexually assaulted at Epstein’s ranch in Sante Fe, New Mexico and Victim 3 was abused in London.
Maxwell — the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell — also faces two charges of perjury.
US prosecutors say she lied under oath when giving sworn evidence in 2016 to lawyers over claims from Virginia Roberts that she had been abused by the pair.
Ms Roberts, 36, also claims she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew after being introduced to him by Maxwell in 2002. The Prince vehemently denies this.
‘GREAT DAY FOR JUSTICE’
The trio were invited to the bash at Windsor Castle in July 2006 by the Prince.
Around 400 guests turned up in mainly Victorian dress for the £400,000 ball, with the theme of the year 1888 — marking 100 years before Beatrice was born.
Victims of convicted paedophile Epstein — who was alleged to have had young girls flown to his private island in the Caribbean — saluted FBI moves to finally smash his sex trafficking ring.
David Boies, who represents Ms Roberts, said: “This is a great day for justice. Jeffrey Epstein did not and could not have acted alone.
“Our clients are very pleased, and very grateful, to the prosecutors, that this important step has been taken.
“Ghislaine Maxwell’s indictment for her perjury in our civil case against her should answer once and for all who is telling the truth.”
Mr Boies’ other clients include Sarah Ransome, sisters Maria and Annie Farmer, South African model Juliette Bryant and Teresa Helm.
They are among possibly hundreds of Epstein victims abused since the 1990s and now living with trauma of their ordeals.
Fellow accuser Jennifer Araoz — who claims the late financier raped her when she was 15 — said: “For years I feared Epstein and his ring.
“Maxwell was the centre of that sex trafficking ring.”
She said victims can finally “take a breath of relief”.
And she added: “Her arrest is a step in the right direction and it truly means that the justice system didn’t forget about us.”
Girls lured in paedo’s web
MAXWELL is accused of grooming the first victim to have sex with her and Epstein at 14.
They took the underage girl under her wing between 1994 and 1997, court papers say.
Maxwell normalised sexualised behaviour and would strip off in front of the teenager, the indictment goes on.
Within a year the girl started to be sexually abused by Epstein while Maxwell watched, says the indictment. It adds: “In particular, Maxwell involved with Minor Victim-1 in group sexualised massages of Epstein.
“During those group sexualised massages, Maxwell and/or Minor Victim-1 would engage in sex acts with Epstein.”
The girl was abused at Epstein’s Manhattan home and at his Palm Beach estate in Florida.
THE second victim was under 18 when she first met Maxwell and Epstein in 1996, the court papers allege.
She was also groomed for sex by the pair and flown by jet to his ranch in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Again, the young girl was taken on shopping trips and to the movies.
The papers say Maxwell gave a massage to the young girl while she was topless as part of the grooming process.
Maxwell also allegedly encouraged the second victim to massage Epstein.
Later in the indictment, where Maxwell is charged with perjury, she denies giving Minor Victim-2 a massage, insisting: “I have not given anyone a massage.”
MAXWELL is charged with grooming and befriending the third underage victim in London between 1994 and 1995.
She is said to have introduced the girl to Epstein and asked her to massage him at his townhouse in the capital. It is not known if the victim is British or just met Maxwell in London.
The indictment says: “During those interactions, Maxwell encouraged Minor Victim-3 to massage Epstein knowing that Epstein would engage in sex acts with Minor Victim-3 during those massages.
“Maxwell was aware that Epstein engaged in sexual activity with Minor Victim-3 on multiple occasions including at times when Minor Victim-3 was under 18, including in the context of a sexualised massage.”
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