News broke this morning of the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman who helped find young girls for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring. Maxwell has been charged with conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in sex acts, and perjury, according to an unsealed grand jury indictment. Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend, and the two of them were frequently photographed together at social events.
In the years since Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking became public knowledge, many people have wondered how a woman could do what Ghislaine Maxwell did. How a woman could manipulate young girls she knew would be sexually abused. According to many of Epstein’s survivors, Maxwell also participated in abusing young girls along with Epstein.
When I was a student at Children’s Theatre, women who taught at the school knew what was happening. At least two survivors of John Clark Donahue remember a teacher named Wendy Lehr walking through Donahue’s living room while they were being abused, and doing nothing. She ignored what she saw, because her career was more important than the lives of the children being harmed. To this day. Ms. Lehr refuses to speak about what she knew, what she ignored, and the harm her silence caused.
Ghislaine Maxwell was a socialite, whose personal reputation was never damaged by her association with Jeffrey Epstein. After her crimes were known, after brave women came forward to talk about Maxwell’s involvement with the horrors they survived, she still managed to jet around the globe, presumably safe from prosecution. Wendy Lehr has been showered with praise and awards, received glowing reviews in local newspapers, featured in magazines, and when survivors talked about Lehr’s knowledge of what happened to them, how she glided through a living room while children were being molested, that information was barely covered by the media.
We like to believe that only men are monsters. We like to believe that women are nurturing and loving and never lie, never cause grievous harm. We like to believe women would never do the awful things Ghislaine Maxwell and Wendy Lehr are accused of doing. But here we are.
Ghislaine Maxwell has finally been arrested and charged. Hopefully, she will either plead guilty, or be convicted after a trial. Wendy Lehr has never even admitted her role in the Children’s Theatre pedophile ring, and as far as I know, has never been approached by law enforcement.
Women lie. Women can be monsters. Emmett Till was tortured and murdered because a white woman lied. Ghislaine Maxwell actively participated in rape, abuse, and sex trafficking of young girls. Wendy Lehr protected her own career rather than protect children.
Anyone can be a monster.