Ghislaine Maxwell gave Epstein a sheen of respectability, but if you strip away the private jets it’s the Rotherham and Rochdale grooming scandals all over again

Ghislaine Maxwell gave Epstein a sheen of respectability, but if you strip away the private jets it’s the Rotherham and Rochdale grooming scandals all over again. By Jan Moir.

Sophisticated, educated and European — the attributes that Epstein so prized in her — Maxwell presented herself as a big sister to these teenagers, even as she ushered them towards the queasy horrors of the massage table and the bedroom.

‘Did you have fun? Was it good?’ she would ask cheerfully afterwards, the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

She behaved as if they had been to a lovely party instead of being subjected to the perverted sexual attentions of a man old enough, in many cases, to be their father. …

Puppet or accomplice? Vulture or victim? We never found out what Maxwell thought of herself because she did not take the stand in her own defence — but what could she possibly say or plead to redeem what she did?

Even so, it was remarkable that her defence in court was not ‘I was manipulated’ or ‘I didn’t know what was going on.’ Instead, it was simply this: ‘They are all lying.’ …

Despite the palm trees, the yachts and the glitter of wealth, it was Rochdale and Rotherham all over again; the coercion of the vulnerable to sate the desires of the unspeakable.

And yet. A victim admitted in court she was 18 when Maxwell coaxed her into a schoolgirl outfit ‘to please Jeffrey’.

One Epstein accuser, who attended court but was not part of the trial, was 21 and working in a Manhattan department store when Maxwell ‘groomed’ her — and then for three years, she, Maxwell and Epstein became an occasional throuple.

I excuse Maxwell for nothing, but one has to wonder what is deemed sexual abuse and what is a consensual adult relationship, later regretted and perhaps even harvested for financial gain.

Yet one hardly dares breathe a whisper of doubt. In the febrile sexual politics of America today, in the climate of #MeToo, the testimony of any female accuser is now sacrosanct. …

There seems to be a frenzy for revenge; a lust for redemption for the sins against all women for ever and ever, amen. …

It is remarkable that Maxwell’s life was dominated by men — first by her father, then by Epstein — but her trial in New York was dominated by women.

There was a woman in the dock, four women giving testimony, other women who professed themselves to be victims queuing up outside to get a seat in court.

There was a female judge while the lead lawyers on both sides were also female. There was even a female court artist whose sketches sometimes gave Ghislaine an unlikely glamour; her hair an inky bouffant curve, a nicely puffed sleeve on a pastel blouse.

Glaring double standard:

The youngest victim in the Epstein/Maxwell scandal was 14, and most were in their mid to late teens. Which makes me wonder, at what age does someone move from child-victim status into a person who is responsible for their own actions?

When she was 15, Greta Thunberg began the school strikes and public speeches, which made her an internationally recognised climate activist.

Detractors said the teen had been brainwashed by adults in pursuit of their own causes, while her supporters claimed she was an intelligent campaigner perfectly capable of making her own informed decisions. …

You cannot be both enlightened and misguided at the same time, whatever your age.

There is much about this scandal that is politically incorrect.