Live

Watch CBSN Live

"I want Ghislaine behind bars for the rest of her life:" Sarah Ransome describes alleged abuse by Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell

Epstein accuser alleges torture by Maxwell
Epstein accuser alleges torture by Maxwell 09:37

Sarah Ransome said she was recruited into Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring in 2006 when she was just 22. 

In her new book, "Silenced No More: Surviving My Journey to Hell and Back," she writes that she was approached at a New York City night club by a young woman about the same age who offered to introduce her to Epstein and told her, "He helps a lot of young girls achieve their dreams."

Days later, Ransome found herself on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean with other young women, including her recruiter, and Ghislaine Maxwell. 

The abuse, she said, started on the island, where Epstein raped her.  

It was Maxwell, she says, who often called her to Epstein's room. 

"While Jeffrey was reeling in children by the dozens, Ghislaine was shoring up his social credibility," she wrote. 

Maxwell is currently standing trial for her alleged role in Epstein's sex abuse scheme. She denies all charges and all claims of wrongdoing. Ransome settled a civil suit with Maxwell and Epstein in 2018.

Epstein, she said, promised to help her get into a prestigious fashion school with a caveat—she had to lose 30 pounds off her 5-foot-9 frame.  "You'll need to get down to 114 pounds" — instructions she said came from Maxwell.

Like many of Maxwell and Epstein's accusers, Ransome's troubles started long before she met the pair in 2006.  

Ransome was born and raised in South Africa by a single mother. She was raped for the first time at age 11.

Years before she met Epstein and Maxwell, Ransome said she turned to sex work to stave off homelessness. When she escaped Epstein in 2007, she turned to sex work again, something she deeply regrets.
 
"I've made regretful choices in the name of survival and acted, at times, in breathless desperation," Ransome writes. "I am not perfect, and that is the point."
 
The Maxwell that she wrote about in her book and the Maxwell that the defense has laid out are two different versions, according to Ransome
 
Ransome said "it makes her sick" to see that the defense is portraying Maxwell as a government scapegoat for the real criminal — that she was not involved in any of the sex trafficking.
 
"I have so many examples of how Ghislaine not only tortured me and abused me, but other survivors," Ransome said.
 
"When Ghislaine had been on the island, I'd been on the island for a few days, and Jeffrey had, like, this outside patio with seating. And she looked at me and she walked over to me and she said, 'Jeffrey wants you.' And I completely froze...she grabbed my arm and marched me into Jeffrey's room, where I was then raped,"Ransome told "CBS Mornings" co-host Gayle King.  "So when she says that she had nothing to do and she had no idea, she was a facilitator. She was Jeffrey's right-hand woman. She orchestrated everything."


She said she wrote her book because she was "tired of being afraid."  
 
"I feel you're only as sick as your secrets. I was tired of being afraid. I was tired of living in fear. I got to a stage where I needed people to know my story because I don't ever want what happened to me to happen to anybody else," Ransome told King.
 
When Ransome first came forward, she said she was "trolled and victim shamed." She said people called her a "gold digger."  
 
"And... that really triggered an anger in me that I didn't even know existed, like a fire," said Ransome.  
 
"The reality of that is the victim shaming, survivors don't come forward because they're afraid to be judged. They are afraid that they won't be believed because they have made certain bad decisions in their life," she added. "But I did not deserve to be raped. Because of my bad decisions, I'm not a free for all, where any person has the right to just rape me whenever they want. Rape is rape."              
 
Ransome said that justice for her will be seeing Maxwell pay for what she did to the victims.  
 
"Jeffrey's dead. Ghislaine's here. I want Ghislaine behind bars for the rest of her life purely because she is that sick. The public are not safe with her on the street. I want people to know what happened. And me being and speaking and living my truth has set me free. It's set me free," Ransome said.  
 
CBS News reached out to Maxwell for comment but she did not respond. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.