NEW YORK – A former housekeeper testified on Thursday that two women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing them as a minor had repeatedly visited his Palm Beach mansion, either by Epstein or his partner Ghislaine Maxwell summoned.
Taking a stand at the Maxwell sex-trafficking trial, Juan Patricio Alessi said that one of her accusers, who testified under the pseudonym “Jane” earlier this week, initially visited the home with her mother and then returned several times alone. She went to the movies and flew with Epstein, Maxwell and their guests, Alessi said.
He said one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, visited “very often” after encountering Maxwell at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Alessi said he was driving Maxwell when she asked him to stop so she could get out and talk to Giuffre, who is working as a spa attendant.
Alessi said he sometimes picks up Giuffre or “Jane” from their home, as directed by Maxwell or Epstein, and will drop guests visiting Maxwell at her desk.
After that, “it’s not my job to see where they are,” he said.
One time, Giuffre brought her boyfriend into the house with her, he said, and Maxwell said the man needed to leave and wait in the car.
Alessi said he has also seen “many, many” young female tourists, often topless lounging by the pool, who appear to be 20 years old.
He worked at Epstein’s sprawling home from 1990 to 2002 – and admits he returned two years later to steal $6,300 in cash from Epstein’s desk. He said Epstein confronted him about the theft and agreed not to press charges if Alessi paid him back, which Alessi said he did.
Epstein committed suicide in prison in 2019, and was charged with sex trafficking for allegedly abusing dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida. The lawsuit against Maxwell stems from four now-adult women who say she helped him fall victim to them.
Giuffre’s allegations, including claims that Epstein and Maxwell trafficked her at the ages of 17 and 18 to other famous men have denied it, is not part of the case.
Maxwell, 59, denies the charges against her, and her attorney says prosecutors are looking for her because they were unable to test Epstein.
The Associated Press usually doesn’t identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they decide to tell their story publicly, as Giuffre did.
Maxwell, a British social media site, was Epstein’s one-time girlfriend and later employee. Prosecutors said she took the girls shopping and to the movies, talking to them about their lives and encouraging them to accept financial help from him.
The government also says she also helped create an erotic atmosphere by talking to girls about sex and encouraging them to give Epstein a massage and the woman identified as “Jane” had testified this week that she had sex with Epstein at the age of 14 with Maxwell in the room and sometimes engaged. Maxwell’s attorneys pointed to FBI documents that said the woman provided the government with another account in 2019; she questioned the accuracy of the documents.
Alessi described a dignified Maxwell to let everyone know she was “the lady of the house” and released a 58-page brochure with rules for employees on everything from how to address her and how to address her. Epstein came up with sticky notes to put on their desks. .
“The checklist will assist you in making sure every task is completed and not the tiniest detail is overlooked,” the staff manual “try to anticipate” Epstein’s needs and Maxwell and to “see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing” except to be talked to.
Alessi said: “I was said to be blind, deaf and mute and speechless about their lives.
Employees had to “run the house like a five-star hotel,” wash Epstein’s car and fill it with $100 bills for weekend visits and avoid making eye contact with him. Maxwell said he didn’t like making such eye contact, according to Alessi, who said she and Epstein called him “John” instead of “Juan”.
Earlier, on Thursday, psychologist Lisa Rocchio testified that child molesters often groom their victims in a process that includes gift-giving, building a sense of trust and gradual development. gradually talk and touch more sexually.
Before the trial, Maxwell’s attorneys tried unsuccessfully to block Rocchio’s testimony, arguing that it lacked sufficient scientific basis.
After she took a stand, defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca suggested that some of the things she describes as grooming – such as giving gifts, taking children to special places or getting their attention – could also be is useless.
He recalls, for example, that his grandfather took him to the Bronx Zoo as a child.
“I assume he’s not sending you there to sexually abuse,” she replied, saying kindness is simply not grooming “in the context of a healthy and normal relationship.”