Federal authorities arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime confidant of Jeffrey Epstein, on Thursday in New Hampshire in connection with the late, accused sex trafficker, senior law enforcement officials said.
She was taken into custody at about 8:30 a.m. in Bedford. Maxwell was charged with six counts for acts committed between 1994 and 1997 — four related to allegedly helping transport minors for sexual activity and two for perjury, according to the criminal complaint.
They say she either recruited them directly or provided logistical support, like scheduling visits to Epstein's home.
"Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring. Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can’t be hurt anymore," Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz said in a statement.
Araoz accused Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was just a teenager and has sued Maxwell, claiming that she and other staffers "conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape of Plaintiff."
"Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions," Ataoz said. "Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn’t forget about us.”
Maxwell's alleged role came into sharper focus last August when unsealed court filings revealed depositions from Epstein's former masseuses, staffers and associates. They painted a portrait of Maxwell as the accused sexual predator's chief enabler.
Epstein’s estate has sought to shield Maxwell from civil legal liability by classifying her as a former employee under the terms of the recently established Epstein Victims Compensation Fund, according to the administrator for the program.
In order to receive money from the funds, victims must waive their right to sue any individuals employed by Epstein.
Maxwell, through public court filings and statements, has denied any wrongdoing.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 last year at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, as he returned from Paris on a private jet. He was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking, and faced up to 45 years in prison if found guilty.
He pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.
The indictment in his case showed that he sought out minors, some as young as 14, from at least 2002 through 2005 and paid them hundreds of dollars in cash for sex at either his Manhattan townhouse or his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, federal prosecutors revealed last month.
Before Epstein could stand trial he was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10 of last year. His death was ruled a suicide. Several guards responsible for checking on Epstein’s cell during the course of the night were charged with falsifying records and never actually checking in on him.
At the time of his death and throughout the year, federal prosecutors have vowed that the investigation into Epstein’s conduct and anyone who may have been involved in recruiting or facilitating his sex with minors.
Epstein had previously served 13 months of an 18-month sentence for two Florida prostitution charges. That came as the result of a 2007 plea agreement that many considered to be far too lenient and which hid its details from the victims.
The deal was agreed to by Alex Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami.