The FBI has arrested British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on multiple charges related to the serial sexual abuse of girls and young women by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. She was among Epstein's closest associates.
Maxwell faces charges that include transporting a minor for the purposes of criminal sexual activity and conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, according to a six-count grand jury indictment that was unsealed Thursday.
Maxwell, 58, was arrested the same day in New Hampshire, the press office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York tells NPR.
The new federal charges largely align with allegations by Epstein's victims, who have accused Maxwell of helping the disgraced financier run a sex-trafficking ring that victimized teenage girls.
Maxwell has previously denied allegations that linked her to Epstein's exploitation of girls and young women — including denials she made during sworn testimony for depositions in 2016. The indictment accuses Maxwell of committing perjury in those depositions.
Maxwell was taken into custody nearly a year after Epstein was arrested and charged with sex trafficking minors and paying victims to recruit other underage girls.
The indictment focuses on a years-long period in the 1990s when, it says, Maxwell "was in an intimate relationship with Epstein and also was paid by Epstein to manage his various properties."
The alleged sexual abuses took place at many of those properties — a home on Manhattan's Upper East Side; an estate in Palm Beach, Fla.; a ranch in Santa Fe, N.M.; and Maxwell's home in London, according to the court document.
At least as early as 1994, Maxwell "enticed and groomed multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Jeffrey Epstein," the indictment states.
The document alleges a pattern of behavior, saying Maxwell took the girls shopping and to the movies, asked them about their families and their lives at school and then attempted "to normalize sexual abuse." She sometimes did that, the indictment alleges, by undressing in front of the victims or involving them in "sexualized massages."
"Maxwell's presence during minor victims' interactions with Epstein, including interactions where the minor victim was undressed or that involved sex acts with Epstein, helped put the victims at ease because an adult woman was present," the indictment states.
Describing the count of perjury against Maxwell, the indictment includes a partial transcription of Maxwell's testimony during a deposition in 2016.
"Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages? If you know," the questioner asked.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Maxwell replied.