Delivering grueling and emotional testimony, “Jane,” a key prosecution witness testifying under a pseudonym, told a federal jury on Tuesday that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell subjected her to horrific sexual abuse involving the three of them together—and on multiple occasions, an “orgy”—when she was a vulnerable 14-year-old girl.
“Jane” is the witness whose story prosecutors told in the first sentence of the government’s opening statement on Monday, approached by a man and a woman at camp. Prosecutors say she did not know they were “dangerous predators.”
“They Seemed Very Friendly”
The camp in question was Michigan’s prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, where “Jane” was a young singer. She recounted that her father had died of leukemia, and her family had fallen upon financial troubles. It was here that “Jane” said a man and a woman walked by, the latter with a “cute little Yorkie.”
“They seemed very friendly,” she recalled thinking about Epstein and Maxwell. “I thought they were a married couple. They seemed very inquisitive.”
She said that she did not know at the time that the two would later sexually abuse her, including in a painful episode involving Epstein and a back massager. On other occasions, she said, Maxwell fondled her breast, and an “orgy” took place on multiple occasions with Maxwell, Epstein and others in the massage room.
“He liked to use vibrators, which were of different sizes. He liked to use the back massagers, which were really painful,” she said of Epstein. “He would put it on my vagina, even if I said that it hurt.”
Just before “Jane” took the stand, the man who piloted Epstein’s private airplanes recalled her on the witness stand as the girl with the “piercing powder-blue eyes.” The pilot, Lawrence Visoski, corroborated part of “Jane’s” account, placing her a flight with Interlochen’s nearest airport in Traverse City, Mich., but Visoski insisted that he never saw any sexual contact on any of the roughly 1,000 flights—by the defense attorney’s estimate—that he piloted over the course of decades.
He claimed that he thought “Jane” was a “mature” woman and said the same of another prominent Maxwell accuser: Virginia Roberts, better known by the name Virginia Giuffre.
As “Jane” recalled later that day, she was a young teen who had never seen a penis when Epstein sexually abused her, and jurors privately viewed a photograph of her when she was that age. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan instructed courtroom sketch artists not to draw her to shield her privacy.
“I Was Frozen with Fear”
Asked about Epstein’s first sexual contact with her, “Jane” said it was in a pool house that Epstein pulled down his sweatpants down and “proceeded to masturbate” on her before leaving.
“I was frozen with fear,” she said.
Law&Crime is not identifying her in accordance with the journalism ethics norm to shield the privacy of those who say they are survivors of sexual assault.
Throughout opening statements and pre-trial filings, prosecutors spoke about “grooming,” the psychological term for normalizing young and vulnerable people for abuse. “Jane” spoke about this process, telling the jury an anecdote of visiting Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Fla., where she says she saw Maxwell and other women topless by the pool.
Some of them were naked, she added.
“Jane” also recalled a remark she said that Maxwell told her about ex-boyfriends.
“Once you’ve fucked them, you can always fuck them again because they’ve been grandfathered in,” Maxwell allegedly told the 14-year-old “Jane.”
“Jane” said that she “giggled” at the time because, “first and foremost,” she didn’t know what the word “grandfathered” meant.
“These Wealthy, Affluent People Took an Interest in Me”
Maxwell’s lawyers have attacked the memories of her alleged victims as shifting and painted them as financially motivated to make their accusations in civil lawsuits that ultimately settled with a fund designed to compensate Epstein’s victims. “Jane” brought one of these lawsuits, also anonymously, ending in a $5 million settlement. Some of that went to counsel and litigation, leaving her with approximately $2.9 million, she said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe asked a series of questions pointing to a different reason “Jane” did not share her story until years later. She said her mother was “enamored” of this idea that “these wealthy, affluent people took an interest in me.”
“They must think I’m special, and I should be grateful about the attention that I’m receiving,” she recounted her mother stating.
She said she considered self-harm and opened up about her feelings of sadness to a school counselor, only to be discouraged by her mother. But she said that she never disclosed her alleged abuse to her mother.
“I grew up with a mother who didn’t allow us to talk about our feelings because that was a sign of weakness,” she said.
Asked about the long-term consequences of her alleged abuse by Epstein and Maxwell, “Jane” replied: “How do you navigate a healthy relationship with a broken compass?”
“I didn’t know what real love was supposed to look like,” she said, adding later: “It ruined my self-esteem, my self-worth.”
Maxwell’s defense attorney Laura Menninger began cross-examination with a question aimed at “Jane’s” reluctance to report her alleged abuse to authorities, something the attorney said she had not done for roughly two decades. Her questioning will continue on Wednesday.
(Photos via DOJ)
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