The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Witness alleges Maxwell groped her at 14, called her body ‘great’ for Epstein

A witness, identified by the pseudonym “Carolyn,” testifies during the sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Dec. 7. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
Placeholder while article actions load

NEW YORK — By age 14, the now-grown woman told jurors, she was addicted to cocaine and pain pills. She had been molested by her grandfather at age 4, and her mother, also a habitual substance abuser, didn’t care what she was up to. She said she quit school after the seventh grade.

Ghislaine Maxwell knew the girl’s age and her troubled backstory, the woman testified Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Yet Maxwell allegedly booked appointment after appointment for the girl to give sexualized massages to Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who died by suicide in a jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

At one point, the witness said, Maxwell groped parts of her naked torso and remarked that she had “a great body for Mr. Epstein and his friends.”

The woman — identified only by her first name, “Carolyn” — was the third alleged Epstein victim to testify at Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial. During later rounds of questioning, Carolyn appeared to change some of her earlier testimony, saying, for example, that she was 13, not 14, when she went to Epstein’s house for the first time.

And after Maxwell’s defense attorney showed Carolyn past sworn statements where she denied having sex with Epstein, she testified that her only physical contact with Epstein other than during “simple” massages was when she squeezed his nipples.

Trusted high school rowing coach accused of sexually abusing two students

A former British socialite who helped manage Epstein’s homes and was romantically involved with him for years, Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking and related charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 70 years in prison.

Her defense attorneys say she is being unfairly scapegoated, since Epstein did not live to stand trial.

But prosecutors allege that Maxwell was instrumental to the grooming and peddling of underage girls to Epstein, who demanded sexualized massage sessions multiple times a day.

Throughout her testimony on Tuesday, Carolyn appeared to fidget. At times, she blotted tears from her cheeks with tissues.

At the start of cross-examination, Maxwell attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca tried to expose discrepancies between Carolyn’s testimony on Tuesday and what she said in a deposition taken during a lawsuit years ago.

Carolyn was asked why Maxwell wasn’t included in the lawsuit against Epstein, and why she didn’t mention Maxwell when FBI agents interviewed her about Epstein in 2007, even though she mentioned other individuals she met at the Palm Beach Estate.

Maxwell “was not the subject of the discussion,” Carolyn replied.

She grew agitated when Pagliuca cited her past sworn statements about not having sex with Epstein.

And she broke down on the witness stand when she was questioned for a second time by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Comey. That’s when she said her relationship with Maxwell and Epstein began when she was 13, not 14, apparently mixing up facts that she had provided under oath just a few hours earlier.

Earlier, Carolyn, who is now in her 30s, told jurors she went to Epstein’s mansion two to three times a week for massage sessions that included sex acts, and was paid $300 to $400 each time, in $100 bills.

Her voice breaking at times, she said Maxwell sometimes called her mother’s phone, or a phone belonging to her older boyfriend, to book her. She used her earnings to fuel her drug habit.

In 2004, Carolyn testified, she became pregnant. After having the baby, she continued to make trips to Epstein’s for money. But she began to feel as though she was no longer wanted there.

Epstein asked her if she had younger friends, she said. “That’s when I realized I was too old.”

What the first alleged victim of Ghislaine Maxwell said on the stand

Carolyn said the trauma from her time in Epstein’s world is still a factor in her life. She became a stripper and prostitute, and eventually sued Epstein and Sarah Kellen, another woman who she accused of facilitating the liaisons.

Kellen, she testified, photographed her nude at Epstein’s mansion.

In addition to a settlement in the lawsuit that was filed in 2009, Carolyn was awarded more than $3 million through a victim compensation fund established after Epstein’s death.

Carolyn said she is being treated for schizophrenia symptoms and sometimes hears voices telling her that her daughters may be taken from her. She takes Xanax, she said, “for all the anxiety I have . . . thinking my daughters will be trafficked or stolen from me.”

Pagliuca asked whether she was scared of losing her children because she had lost custody of them in the past due to her “substance abuse issues.”

“No!” she answered, later saying under her breath, in an agitated tone, that she never lost her children.

The trial was initially expected to last into mid-January. But prosecutors said Tuesday that they expect to rest their case this week, with one more Epstein accuser still expected to testify.

Loading...