Epstein accuser Sarah Ransome on Ghislaine Maxwell’s guilty verdict: “I never thought this day would even happen”

Maxwell faces a potential maximum sentence of 65 years in prison

CBS NEWS

Sarah Ransome, one of the women who have spoken out about allegations of abuse by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, says she felt “vindicated” and “completely overwhelmed” after a New York jury convicted Maxwell on five out of six federal counts related to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring

“I never thought this day would ever happen,” Ransome told “CBS Mornings.” “For me, it’s really important to thank the prosecutors and to thank the four incredibly brave, beautiful women that testified because without them, without their truth, we would never have got Ghislaine behind bars. We would never have had this verdict. So yes, this is justice. But this is just the beginning.” 

Maxwell was found guilty Wednesday on charges of sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three counts of conspiracy. Maxwell, who pleaded not guilty and denies all claims of wrongdoing, faces a potential maximum sentence of 65 years in prison.

Ransome said in an earlier interview that justice would mean Maxwell spending the rest of her life in jail. Thursday morning, Ransome said it still hadn’t dawned on her that “justice has finally been served.”

“It’s been such a long, hard journey to get here,” she said. “So yesterday’s decision, I think, will take a little while to sink in. But the thought of Ghislaine spending the rest of her life behind bars, you know, you must understand she destroyed so many hundreds, if not thousands, of other women, young women and children. You know, so I’m pleased that she will never — she’ll never be out again ever to hurt anybody else.”

Ransome has said she was recruited into Epstein’s ring in 2006 when she was 22. In her new book, “Silenced No More: Surviving My Journey to Hell and Back,” she writes about that alleged abuse and her experience with Maxwell. Ransome said Thursday she felt Maxwell’s acts made her worse than Epstein.

“Women are supposed to look after each other. Human beings are supposed to look after each other. And because she was a woman, she normalized abuse,” Ransome said. “She participated, she tortured me and others, and she’s worse than Jeffrey. She broke the sisterhood. She broke that bond. She was supposed to be a protector and nurturer, and she failed us. And she’ll have to live with that for the rest of her life.”

Ransome, who settled a civil suit with Maxwell and Epstein in 2018, did not testify in the trial, but praised the four women who did and said they helped bring justice. 

“These brave women gave me my day in court,” Ransome said. “That’s why it was so important for me to be there in New York during the trial.”

Bobbi Sternheim, one of Maxwell’s defense lawyers, said in a statement that they “firmly believe in Ghislaine’s innocence. We are very disappointed in the verdict. We have already started working on an appeal and we are confident that she will be vindicated.” 

For Ransome, the verdict is “history-making.” 

“This is an example that, you know, the powerful, the wealthy, you can’t behave like this,” Ransome said. “You will eventually be stopped. And I hope people think really long and hard next time they want to hurt another human being.”

Maxwell will continue to be held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center until she is sentenced.

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