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Jeffrey Epstein's victims open up about being recruited by Ghislaine Maxwell

·Host & Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read
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On Sunday night's first half of Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, Lifetime's new four-hour documentary taking place over two nights, eight survivors shared their initial encounter with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and how Ghislaine Maxwell was allegedly the gatekeeper to their elaborate sex abuse and trafficking scheme.

While Maxwell, who was arrested in July, has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing in the Epstein case, many of his victims are saying that it was because of Maxwell that they agreed to go to Epstein's house in the first place, due to her charming nature.

"Ghislaine was fantastically charming. Her British accent and her connections served her well in recruiting young girls," stated Maxwell's former friend Christopher Mason.

"I genuinely thought that she really did care about me and so it was a giant blow to learn that she was in on all of it," shared Chauntae Davies.

"They knew exactly how to pull you in to trust them. I went from one person to the next just like a human baton being passed along," said Teresa Helm.

Virginia Giuffre, who was recruited by Maxwell from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago spa, even described Maxwell as "this really bright, Mary Poppins kind of a figure." However, Giuffre claimed that, during her first encounter with Epstein, she was abused by both Epstein and Maxwell.

"The massage seemed legitimate at first. Ghislaine grabbed one foot, I grabbed the other, and she says, 'You always wanna keep one hand on the body when you're massaging somebody.' And then he turns over and the entire thing changed," explained Giuffre. She continued, "They said, 'Take off your clothes.' I had these little girl undies on, like, little hearts on them, I remember, and they were laughing at that because they liked that. The younger you look, the better it is. So I stripped down. Ghislaine stripped down. It turned very sexual. It was abuse right away from both of them."

"Epstein's victims have talked about how they weren't sure who this guy was but, because Ghislaine seemed so proper, surely it's gotta be legit. Her posh upbringing and her accent gave this veneer of respectability. Coming from a woman, I think that was incredibly manipulative, and I think it was absolutely critical in Epstein's operation," stated journalist Daniel Bates.

Courtney Wild, who was a victim-turned-recruiter, revealed that she had gotten "comfortable" with recruiting other young girls to go to Epstein's house and that there were times she brought two to three girls a day.

"Once I got comfortable with, like, approaching girls and kind of finessing them in a way to, like, say, 'Oh, it's just a massage and you just have to do this,' and making it sound oh-so-good for them to go, there was times where I brought two and three girls in a day. He groomed me to be exactly what he wanted me to be — a personal sex slave that brought him underage girls. You know, these are my friends that I brought," admitted Wild.

During Sunday night’s airing, Wild took accountability for her involvement and apologized to all of the girls she recruited.

"For anybody that I recruited, like, I'm so sorry," said Wild through tears. "The guilt and shame in how I feel about, basically I lied to them and lured them in to go see this guy. I don't know if it's something that I'll ever, really fully get over."

The Surviving Jeffrey Epstein two-night event continues August 10 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.

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