One of the highest-profile alleged victims of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein has hailed the arrest of his former girlfriend, saying she hopes the judge “throws the book at” Ghislaine Maxwell.
“Thank you to the FBI, [New York state attorney] and anyone involved in the arrest of this insidious creature. Hope the judge throws the book at her. So, so, so happy – she’s finally where she belongs,” Virginia Giuffre wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Ms Giuffre, who is sometimes known by her pre-marriage name of Roberts, has long claimed to have been a victim of Epstein and his friends. She now lives in Australia, but grew up in Florida.
Ms Giuffre said she was just 15 when Ms Maxwell recruited her as a masseuse to Epstein. She also claims she was ordered to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 – a claim the prince denies.
Ms Maxwell, a long-time associate of Epstein, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire on Thursday. A public indictment alleges she facilitated many of the disgraced financier’s crimes by “helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse” girls as young as 14.
It also said she participated in the sexual abuse.
BBC reports that another of Epstein’s alleged victims, Sarah Ransome, has told Panorama that Ms Maxwell worked closely with him.
She said: “Ghislaine controlled the girls. She was like the madam. She was like the nuts and bolts of the sex trafficking operation.”
Audrey Strauss, the acting US attorney in Manhattan, said the allegations against Ms Maxwell were “almost unspeakable”.
The Oxford-educated Ms Maxwell, 58, is the ninth child of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.
She has kept a low profile since the death of Epstein in August 2019 when he was in jail, accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over nearly two decades. Ms Maxwell has denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Her arrest is likely to pile further pressure on Prince Andrew. He faces several allegations stemming from his long friendship with Epstein and has been urged to give a statement to US authorities.
Ms Strauss said federal prosecutors “would welcome Prince Andrew coming in” to speak with them.
“Our doors remain open, as we have previously said, and we would welcome his coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement,” she said.
The Duke of York has consistently denied any wrong doing, and also denies ever meeting Ms Giuffre. He officially stepped back from royal duties in November 2019 after what was widely considered to be train wreck interview on the issue.
The Prince Andrew has always vehemently denied any wrong doing over the issue.
In June, US prosecutors said the Queen’s second son had provided “zero co-operation” with the Epstein investigation. That prompted a statement from the prince’s lawyers, in which they said he had “on at least three occasions this year” offered to help the Department of Justice.
British media is reporting that the prince is “bewildered” by Ms Strauss’ comments after Ms Maxwell’s arrest.