“The indictment describes Maxwell using her presence as a woman to gain victims’ trust, taking girls on shopping trips and trying to befriend them, to ‘normalize’ abuse.”
July 10, 2020
New Republic – Ghislaine Maxwell, the accused conspirator in the sexual abuse of minors with the deceased Jeffrey Epstein, was transferred to federal detention this week.
She will face a bail hearing early next week, almost exactly a year since Epstein was similarly charged.
Last July, when the Justice Department announced it was prosecuting Epstein for the sex trafficking of minors, Maxwell was still free—though it was presumed she, too, would soon officially be drawn into the case, as some of Epstein’s victims had described her role in facilitating his alleged abuse.
The Justice Department dropped its prosecution of Epstein almost 15 years ago.
Now it is tasked with prosecuting Maxwell and, in the process, delivering something like justice for the women who never saw him answer for his alleged abuse in court after he [reportedly] died by suicide in federal detention last August. Maxwell will now stand in Epstein’s place.
In their case against Maxwell, federal prosecutors say she engaged—along with Epstein—in the sexual abuse of a minor in the 1990s, as well as conspired with Epstein to “entice” three minors into “sexual activity for which a person could be charged with a criminal offense.”
The White-Slave Traffic Act, also called the Mann Act, is a United States federal law, passed June 25, 1910 (ch. 395, 36 Stat. 825; codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421–2424). It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann of Illinois.
In its original form the act made it a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose”.
Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking, particularly where trafficking was for the purposes of prostitution. It was one of several acts of protective legislation aimed at moral reform during the Progressive Era.
In practice, its ambiguous language about “immorality” resulted in it being used to criminalize even consensual sexual behavior between adults. It was amended by Congress in 1978 and again in 1986 to limit its application to transport for the purpose of prostitution or other illegal sexual acts. Source.
The most serious charges against Maxwell involve “enticement,” as defined in a part of the U.S. criminal code that began its life in the early twentieth century as the Mann Act.
The conduct criminalized in the Mann Act was once far more expansive, including transporting women and girls across state lines for “immoral purposes.”
Since its original passage in 1910, the Mann Act has been used to prosecute people who were engaged in consensual conduct—like the Black boxer, Jack Johnson, after marrying a white woman—with the Supreme Court affirming such a broad application of the law in 1917.
The “immoral purposes” language was updated in 1986, replaced with “any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.”
That still-broad definition is used now to charge Maxwell, because the victims she is accused of enticing into and, in one case, engaging in sexual conduct with were minors … Read more.
Although the law was created to stop forced sexual slavery of women, the most common use of the Mann Act was to prosecute men for having sex with underage females. The phrase “immoral purpose” in the statute allowed an extremely broad application of the law following the United States Supreme Court ruling in Caminetti v. United States (1917), which held that “illicit fornication”, even when consensual, constituted an “immoral purpose.” Source
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