Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Day 4: Grooming Expert and Former Employee Take the Stand

Ryan DeLarme
December 2nd, 2021

It is now day 4 of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial in lower Manhattan. Day 3 saw the first of three accusers, an actress going by the pseudonym “Jane”, being grilled by defense attorneys in an attempt to poke holes in her story. The day ended with the testimony of Daniel Besslsen, a man who received many generous donations from Epstein while VP of finance at Interlochen, the elite arts camp where Epstein and Maxwell first approached the accuser “Jane”.

Today we have the 2nd accuser, Teresa Helm, arriving at the courthouse alongside attorney Sigrid McCawley. We also have the finance director of a children’s school taking the stand this morning.

The day began with the prosecution calling their next witness, Paul Kane, the finance director of the Professional Children’s School on the Upper West Side. 

One of the four accusers attended the exclusive prep school – which counts Uma Thurman and Paris Hilton among its alumni – for her senior year, moving to the big apple from Palm Beach, Florida.

Kane was asked to look at the accuser’s application, specifically where it showed that Jeffery Epstein had “financial responsibility” for her schooling.

The next witness called to the stand was Dr. Lisa Rocchio, a clinical and forensic psychologist with expertise in traumatic stress and interpersonal violence. She was asked to describe the concept of “grooming” and tactics or strategies used by child sexual abusers to the court.

“They will exploit whatever vulnerabilities they’ve identified in a child,” Rocchio testified.

Dr. Rocchio is clear that grooming occurs in five stages: obtaining access to the victim; isolating them for abuse; engaging in deception to build trust/attachment; desensitizing the victim to sexual talk/touch; the process of control, to allow continuation of abuse and prevent disclosure.

Ms. Maxwell’s lawyer questioned Dr. Rocchio about what constitutes grooming of a child, asking: “My grandfather liked to take me to the Bronx Zoo. Was that grooming?”

The prosecution called its next witness, Juan Patricio Alessi, originally of Quito, Ecuador, but a Florida resident since 1984. The witness worked for a wealthy family in Palm Beach as a maintenance contractor.

Mr. Alessi then went on to work for Epstein as a housekeeper, having met him while working on billionaire Les Wexner’s mother’s house. He had a room at the house in Palm Beach and brought his wife to help out with the work, as well as other women.

Mr. Alessi testified that after Ms. Maxwell became involved with Epstein, things changed and were less cordial at the Palm Beach mansion. She told him that she was “the lady of the house”.

He says there was less conversation and he was instructed by Ms. Maxwell not to look Epstein in the eyes. The former housekeeper worked 14-hour days and was called “john” by the pair. One of his tasks was to regularly put $100 dollar bills in each of Epstein’s cars.

Today’s proceedings are still ongoing, updates will be added as new information emerges.

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