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story.lead_photo.caption Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announces the arrest Thursday of Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein. “Maxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable,” Strauss said. (The New York Times/Jose A. Alvarado Jr.)

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on charges that she helped lure at least three girls -- one as young as 14 -- to be sexually abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein was accused of victimizing dozens of girls and women over many years.

According to the indictment, Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent companion on trips around the world, facilitated his crimes and on some occasions joined him in sexually abusing the girls.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

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Maxwell has, for years, been accused by many women of acting as a madam for Epstein, helping him scout for young girls, then hiring them to give him massages, during which the girls were pressured into sex acts.

In one lawsuit, a woman said Maxwell was the "highest-ranking employee" of Epstein's alleged sex trafficking enterprise. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.

The 58-year-old was arrested in Bradford, N.H., where she was living on a wooded estate that she bought for $1 million in December. The FBI had been keeping tabs on her after she disappeared from public view following Epstein's arrest a year ago.

"More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago," William Sweeney, head of the FBI's New York office, said at a news conference Thursday.

Jennifer Araoz, who says Epstein raped her when she was 15, said she feared the financier's ring of conspirators for years.

"Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can't be hurt anymore," Araoz, now 33, said in a statement. "Day after day, I have waited for the news that Maxwell would be arrested and held accountable for her actions. Her arrest is a step in that direction, and it truly means that the justice system didn't forget about us."

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, included counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

She was also accused of perjuring herself during a deposition in a civil lawsuit over the reported abuse.

"Maxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable," said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

Messages were sent Thursday to several of Maxwell's attorneys seeking comment. She has previously repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some claims against her "absolute rubbish."

At a brief hearing Thursday, a magistrate judge ordered Maxwell to remain in custody while she is transferred to New York for a detention hearing there.

Among the most sensational accusations was a claim by Virginia Roberts Giuffre that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. Giuffre bolstered her allegations with a picture of her, Andrew and Maxwell that she said was taken at the time.

Andrew denied her story, and Maxwell said in a deposition that Giuffre was "totally lying."

The prince was not mentioned in the indictment, and the charges covered Maxwell's dealings with Epstein from 1994-97, a period well before his alleged encounters with Giuffre in 2001.

Information for this article was contributed by Curt Anderson and Danica Kirka of The Associated Press.

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a sexual assault victim, speaks during a press conference outside a Manhattan court in New York. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI, Thursday, July 2, 2020 on charges she helped procure underage sex partners for financier Jeffrey Epstein. Among the most sensational accusations was a claim by one Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew at her London townhouse.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2019 file photo, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a sexual assault victim, speaks during a press conference outside a Manhattan court in New York. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI, Thursday, July 2, 2020 on charges she helped procure underage sex partners for financier Jeffrey Epstein. Among the most sensational accusations was a claim by one Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew at her London townhouse.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, a pedestrian stops to take a photo of Jeffrey Epstein's townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in New York.  On Thursday July 2, 2020, the FBI arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Epstein. The court papers said Epstein's abuse of girls occurred at his Manhattan mansion and other residences in Palm Beach, Florida; Sante Fe, New Mexico and London.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo, a pedestrian stops to take a photo of Jeffrey Epstein's townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in New York. On Thursday July 2, 2020, the FBI arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Epstein. The court papers said Epstein's abuse of girls occurred at his Manhattan mansion and other residences in Palm Beach, Florida; Sante Fe, New Mexico and London. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
A locked gate spans a road going to an estate where Ghislaine Maxwell was taken into custoday, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Bradford, N.H. The British socialite faces charges she helped recruit three girls — one as young as 14 — to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A locked gate spans a road going to an estate where Ghislaine Maxwell was taken into custoday, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Bradford, N.H. The British socialite faces charges she helped recruit three girls — one as young as 14 — to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2000 file photo, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, driven by Britain's Prince Andrew leaves the wedding of a former girlfriend of the prince, Aurelia Cecil, at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury, England. The FBI said Thursday July 2, 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in New Hampshire. (Chris Ison/PA via AP, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2000 file photo, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, driven by Britain's Prince Andrew leaves the wedding of a former girlfriend of the prince, Aurelia Cecil, at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury, England. The FBI said Thursday July 2, 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in New Hampshire. (Chris Ison/PA via AP, File)
FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on Thursday, July 2, 2020, on charges she helped procure underage sex partners for the financier.  (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)
FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on Thursday, July 2, 2020, on charges she helped procure underage sex partners for the financier. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)
A boulder inscribed with "Tucked Away" sits beside a road going to an estate where Ghislaine Maxwell was taken into custody, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Bradford, N.H. The British socialite faces charges she helped recruit three girls — one as young as 14 — to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A boulder inscribed with "Tucked Away" sits beside a road going to an estate where Ghislaine Maxwell was taken into custody, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Bradford, N.H. The British socialite faces charges she helped recruit three girls — one as young as 14 — to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of girls and women over many years. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
People walk through downtown Bradford, N.H., on Thursday, July 2, 2020, the small New Hampshire town where Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
People walk through downtown Bradford, N.H., on Thursday, July 2, 2020, the small New Hampshire town where Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Boards outlining the case against Ghislaine Maxwell are displayed before Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, speak during a news conference to announce charges against Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Boards outlining the case against Ghislaine Maxwell are displayed before Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, speak during a news conference to announce charges against Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
FILE - In this June 5, 1991 file photo, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell arrives at Epsom Racecourse. The FBI said Thursday July 2, 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in New Hampshire. (Chris Ison/PA via AP, File)
FILE - In this June 5, 1991 file photo, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell arrives at Epsom Racecourse. The FBI said Thursday July 2, 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was accused by many women of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in New Hampshire. (Chris Ison/PA via AP, File)
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