Key dates in the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse scandal

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Jeffrey Epstein in 2004. (Photo: Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Epstein in 2004. (Photo: Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images)
  • In July 2019 Jeffrey Epstein is arrested upon return to the US from France.
  • In November 2019 Prince Andrew gives a "disastrous" interview in which he defends his ties to the disgraced financier.
  • In July 2020 Ghislaine Maxwell is arrested and charged with sex trafficking minors for Epstein. 
  • Here is a look at how the far-reaching sexual abuse scandal unfolded.

Ghislaine Maxwell, confidante to Jeffrey Epstein, was sentenced to 20 years in prison with five years of supervised release for federal sex trafficking on Tuesday.

In the aftermath of the British socialite's sentencing, AFP looks at the far-reaching scandal, which exposed the late disgraced financier Epstein's sexually abuse of young women.


Jeffrey Epstein arrested

On 6 July 2019, Epstein, a hedge fund manager with an entourage of celebrity friends, is arrested upon return to the United States from France in a private jet and later charged with sex trafficking minors. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Epstein - who had previously been convicted in Florida of paying young girls for massages - sexually exploited dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida between 2002 and 2005.


On 10 August, Epstein, who had pleaded not guilty, hangs himself at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Centre. He was 66.

Two prison guards are charged with failing to monitor him properly. But his death fuels conspiracy theories that he was murdered.

Both the FBI and the US Justice Department open probes.

French probe

Days after Epstein's death, French prosecutors open a separate inquiry into the suspected rape and sexual abuse of minors linked to the scandal.

Epstein's sumptuous apartment near the Champs-Elysees in Paris is searched.

Prince Andrew implicated

In November 2019 Britain's Prince Andrew, a friend of Epstein, gives a "disastrous" interview to the BBC in which he defends his ties to the disgraced financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was trafficked as a teenager. Three days after the interview, Queen Elizabeth II's second son steps back from royal duties.

WATCH | Prince Andrew denies sexual misconduct allegations in explosive interview 


Ghislaine Maxwell arrested

On 2 July 2020, Epstein's companion and former girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, is arrested in the United States and charged with sex trafficking minors for him.

The daughter of the former British media mogul Robert Maxwell pleads not guilty and is placed in detention.

Brunel charged

On 17 December, French prosecutors imprison modelling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, a former close associate of Epstein, on charges of raping minors and sexual harassment.


Embarrassing contacts

Leon Black, the head of Investment firm Apollo Global Management, steps down because of his business links with Epstein in March 2021.

In August, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says it was a "huge mistake" to socialise with Epstein. Three months later, British bank Barclays parts company with its chief executive Jes Staley because of his historical ties to Epstein.

Prince Andrew accused

In August, Giuffre lodges a complaint against Prince Andrew in New York, saying she was forced into having sex with him when she was 17 and a minor. The British police re-examine the accusations but in October say they will take no further action.

Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty

On 29 December, Maxwell is found guilty by a New York court of five counts, including the most serious charge of sex trafficking a minor. Her lawyer says she will appeal.


Prince Andrew settles

On 12 January 2022, US prosecutors refuse to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit brought by Giuffre against Prince Andrew. He is stripped of his military titles.

In February the prince settles the lawsuit for an unspecified sum, according to a court filing. The British press estimates the sum at more than £12 million (R235 million).

As part of the agreement, the British royal will make a "substantial donation" to a charity established by Giuffre that supports sex trafficking victims.

In March the New York lawsuit is dropped.

Read More | Prince Andrew pays financial settlement to Virginia Giuffre 

Brunel dies

In February former modelling agent Brunel is found hanged in his prison cell in Paris. A probe is opened.

Maxwell sentenced

On 28 June Ghislaine Maxwell is is sentenced to 20 years in prison with five years of supervised release for federal sex trafficking.

Shortly before the sentencing, she made a statement in which she told the victims she was "sorry" for the pain they experienced. Maxwell directly addresses the victims in the case, saying, "It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein."

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