Several female associates of Jeffrey Epstein are facing sex trafficking and conspiracy charges as investigators close in on the women who allegedly helped the late US financier to systematically abuse teenage girls.
One of those women, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was Epstein’s onetime girlfriend, organized the complex logistical operation that fed Epstein’s apparently insatiable appetite for sexual encounters with girls as young as 14, according to victims and witnesses.
Three women have alleged in lawsuits that Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring operated as a hierarchy, with the financier and Maxwell at the top. Maxwell has vehemently denied she trafficked girls.
The disgraced financier, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan prison while awaiting trial for allegedly abusing dozens of young girls in a sex-trafficking enterprise.
Ever since Epstein’s suicide earlier this month, his network of accused co-conspirators have come under increased scrutiny in a series of lawsuits.
The US Attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, whose office brought the charges against Epstein, said after his suicide that the investigation into the sex-trafficking conspiracy will continue.
Four other women who were instrumental to Epstein’s operation — Sarah Kellen, Lesley Groff, Adriana Ross and Nadia Marcinkova — could also face criminal charges by the US Attorney in Manhattan.
None of Epstein’s associates have been charged or named as co-conspirators yet. But federal authorities are considering possible charges that include sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, two people with knowledge of the investigation said.
Recruiters were allegedly told to target young, financially desperate women, and to promise them help funding their college education and careers, according to civil complaints.
Epstein, who had befriended numerous celebrities and politicians — including US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton — faced up to 45 years in prison if he had remained alive and was convicted.
Some analysts expressed suspicion around the circumstances of his death, noting Epstein's untimely death to be a convenient incident for those high-profile individuals included among his friends.