(Trends Wide) — A woman who testified Tuesday in the sex trafficking trial against Ghislaine Maxwell said she met Jeffrey Epstein’s close confidant and the billionaire businessman when she was 14 years old. According to her, he was eating ice cream with friends at a camp where he was a benefactor.
The woman, identified in court by the pseudonym “Jane,” said that after that 1994 presentation, she and her mother met Epstein for tea in Florida when he said he could be her mentor. Then she started going to Epstein’s house alone.
At first, Maxwell and Epstein made her feel special: spending time with her, asking her about her family and interests, and taking her out to do fun things, she said.
For the first few months of meeting them, Maxwell felt like an older sister, she said.
“It changed when the abuse started,” he said.
The abuses of Maxwell and Epstein
“Jane” described in graphic detail the incidents of sexual abuse with Epstein that Maxwell sometimes participated in, both in Palm Beach, Florida, and in Manhattan when he was 14, 15 and 16 years old.
Maxwell was first charged in July 2020 with incitement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, transportation, and conspiracy to transport minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity for allegedly grooming and recruiting girls under the age of age from 1994 to 1997.
Prosecutors later added two counts of sex trafficking, alleging that Maxwell interacted with a 14-year-old girl on multiple occasions in Palm Beach, Florida, and encouraged and incited her to recruit other girls to perform “sexualized massages” on Epstein despite to know that she was less than 18 years old.
Speaking at times in a shaky voice and wiping her eyes and nose with a tissue, “Jane” testified that Epstein and Maxwell gradually normalized the then 14-year-old girl’s sexuality.
Sometimes Epstein would masturbate and tease her, she said. Maxwell sometimes got involved, touching her and Epstein, she testified.
At least once, Maxwell “instructed” him on how Epstein liked to be massaged while the three were in Epstein’s “massage room,” he testified.
“It seemed very casual, like it was very normal, like it wasn’t a big deal,” he said. “It made me feel confused because that didn’t seem normal to me.”
“Jane” is known as Minor Victim-1 in a federal indictment detailing the allegations against Maxwell.
Epstein committed suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial. Maxwell’s attorney maintains that she was charged only because he died.
The couple is reported to have separated in the 1990s, although the socialite stayed close to him.
The trial started with a Maxwell and Epstein pilot on the stand
Maxwell’s trial began Monday with testimony from a pilot who blew up Epstein’s plane. He said he remembered meeting “Jane” but wasn’t sure if she flew the private jet.
In the last half hour of Tuesday’s court session, defense attorney Laura Menninger began the cross-examination of “Jane” by asking her why she waited two decades to report her allegations to the police.
Menninger also asked him about the $ 5 million he received through the Epstein Victim Compensation Program.
“Jane” acknowledged that she withdrew a 2020 lawsuit against Maxwell under the program’s agreement to receive financial payment.
Cross-examination is expected to continue on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, “Jane” said she first confided in a boyfriend about her abuse around 2007 when Epstein was arrested in Florida. Eventually, he told several people, including his siblings, about his experience, he testified.
“Because how do you tell or describe all this to any of your classmates or siblings when all you feel is shame, disgust and confusion and you don’t even know how you ended up there?”
“Jane” testified that she felt she couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse as a child, in part because her mother discouraged her from speaking out.
“My mom was so in love with the idea of these wealthy, wealthy people taking an interest in me,” she said.
“Jane” said she continued to give Epstein sexualized massages at least during his studies in New York when he was 18 years old.
He would tell people that Epstein was his “godfather” and would drop everything to answer their calls when he communicated, he said.
Epstein began giving cash to “Jane” shortly after the abuse began in 1994, then paid for his family’s singing lessons, school, clothing and housing, he said.
He said he could not say how many times Maxwell participated in the abuse because everything runs in his memory.
“Everything started to look the same after a while and you get numb,” he said.
The woman cut off contact with Epstein around 2002. Her mother still lived in a New York apartment that he paid for at the time, she said.
Federal prosecutors are expected to call in “Jane’s” former boyfriend to testify after what she shared with him about his alleged abuse, but the judge has said he will rule that Wednesday morning.