Even though Jeffrey Epstein, who was widely accused of sexual abuse, was found dead in his jail cell Saturday after an apparent suicide, there are still many people who are alive and could be prosecuted for working with him. One of those people is Epstein’s alleged co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, who, allegedly, authorities can’t find.
The Washington Post reported: “According to people familiar with the investigation, authorities have had trouble locating Maxwell, who is believed to be living abroad.” She has not been charged with any crimes and she denies any wrongdoing.
Geoff Berman, the U.S. attorney in New York, said that the investigation was ongoing, the Post reported.
Investment banker Euan Rellie told New York Magazine’s the Cut that Maxwell worked with Epstein. “Every pretty girl in New York in those days, Ghislaine would invite to Jeffrey’s,” he said, adding: “Her job was to jazz up his social life by getting fashionable young women to show up.”
Some accusers have claimed that Maxwell recruited girls and also participated in sexual abuse.
One source told Vanity Fair: “Ghislaine was in love with Jeffrey the way she was in love with her father. She always thought if she just did one more thing for him, to please him, he would marry her.”
Well that sounds like a normal, healthy relationship. Also, apparently Maxwell’s actual father, a disgraced media mogul, was similar to Epstein. Gross.
The Vanity Fair source continued: “When I asked what she thought of the underage girls, she looked at me and said, ‘they’re nothing, these girls. They are trash.’”
At Jezebel, Tracy Clark-Flory argued that it’s partly her image as a socialite that has protected Maxwell:
With Maxwell there is, apparently, the additional psychological wrench of her social standing. “The ‘Lady of the House’ Who Was Long Entangled With Jeffrey Epstein,” reads the New York Times headline. “The Socialite on Epstein’s Arm,” says New York Magazine. She is not only a woman, but a lady woman. Not just a woman, but a socialite. Both stories lead with her proximity to wealth and fame—the private jets, mansions, townhouses, and royalty, the “film screenings and store openings and fashion shows”—before turning to ghastly abuse allegations. Here, it seems there are dual classifiers—of both gender and class—that are difficult to reconcile with the allegations of sexual abuse.
We are culturally biased on multiple fronts against making any sense of Maxwell and the allegations against her. We lack the appropriate tools to understand. Maybe, as this case moves forward, we will start to build them.