Network of Women Made Epstein's Crimes Possible

Tara Palmeri of Politico digs in to the hierarchy led by Ghislaine Maxwell
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2021 2:56 PM CDT
Not Just Ghislaine: Epstein's Network of Female Enablers
In this July 2, 2020, file photo, Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, points to a photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell during a news conference.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, his systematic sexual abuse of minors and young women, have been well documented. As has the alleged role of Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of procuring girls for Epstein to rape. But the scale of Epstein's abuse—multiple girls a day, for years on end—was massive. How did he pull it off? At Politico Magazine, Tara Palmeri has an investigative piece about the network of women who enabled him. She makes clear that she's not excusing the men in Epstein's orbit or holding women to a higher standard. "But as a woman myself, I have been struck by the sheer number of women around Epstein, and many of the victims I’ve spoken with say they feel especially betrayed by those who violated the unspoken rule that women protect other women, especially minors." Palmeri lays out the "infrastructure" of how all this worked.

Not surprisingly, she puts Maxwell at the top, and the story recounts how Maxwell would be chauffeured around Florida allegedly looking for teenagers to "recruit," right off the street. Below her were scores of female assistants who scheduled the girls. Then there were the "recruiters," girls who were often abused by Epstein themselves but who also were paid to bring other girls into the fold. And finally there were the female socialites and professionals who welcomed Epstein into high society and gave him credibility, while seemingly turning a blind eye to his actions. A complicating factor: Some of the very women who have been called out as abusers or at least recruiters say they, too, are victims, and are seeking restitution from the Epstein victims' fund. "To me, the fact that so many women know so much more, yet have stayed silent, might be the most depressing part of this story," writes Palmeri. (Read it in full here.)

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