Judge says Sarah Kellen was 'criminally responsible' in Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking scheme during Ghislaine Maxwell sentencing hearing
- A federal judge said
Sarah Kellenwas "criminally responsible" in Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking scheme.
- Witnesses at
Ghislaine Maxwell's trial said Kellen scheduled sexualized "massages" with him.
In Ghislaine Maxwell's trial late last year, a name kept popping up over and over again.
It was another woman who, witnesses said, played an instrumental role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein's
Kellen, multiple witnesses said during the trial, played a similar role as Maxwell in Epstein's sex-trafficking scheme. Starting in 2002, she worked in Epstein's office building on Manhattan's Upper East Side. One of Epstein's private pilots said she worked as a personal assistant for both Epstein and Maxwell.
She scheduled flights on Epstein's private jets and arranged for his victims to be on them, witnesses said. Kellen also arranged "massages" — up to three a day — where Epstein would rape his victims, witnesses testified. One of the victims in the trial, Carolyn, testified that on at least one occasion, Kellen took nude photos of her before a sexualized massage appointment with Epstein that she was paid hundreds of dollars for.
Kellen's name came up again in court on Tuesday, during a hearing where US District Judge Alison Nathan sentenced Maxwell to 20 years in prison.
In discussing the scope of Maxwell's role in Epstein's sex-trafficking scheme, Nathan identified Kellen as "a knowing participant in the criminal conspiracy" and said she was "a criminally responsible participant."
"The defendant was Epstein's No. 2 and the lady of the house," Nathan said, referring to Maxwell. "At some point, Kellen took over some of the defendant's duties. But even after that time, the defendant retained her leadership position, as evidenced by Carolyn's testimony."
Today, Kellen lives in Manhattan, a short walk from the courthouse where Maxwell was sentenced.
She was photographed in SoHo on Friday by photographers for The Daily Mail, which reported that she lives in a $5.2 million penthouse in the neighborhood with her husband, the race car driver Brian Vickers. (Kellen has also used the names Sarah Vickers and Sarah Kensington). She also owns a $6.2 million penthouse in Miami, The Daily Mail reported.
It's not clear why prosecutors have not brought criminal charges against Kellen.
They didn't call her as a witness in Maxwell's trial, during which Maxwell's lawyers argued their client was a scapegoat for Epstein and Kellen. In 2019, The New York Times reported that prosecutors were considering charges against her.
Kellen has said she was a victim
In an interview with The Sun in 2020, Kellen described herself as a "victim" of Epstein who was "raped and abused weekly."
But at a discussion at the Tuesday hearing about how to apply sentencing guidelines for Maxwell, Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe said Kellen's involvement working for her and Epstein illustrated the criminal conspiracy's scope.
"When you look at the defendant's role in earlier years, she was doing things like calling victims and arranging for massage appointments," Moe said. "As the scheme shifted, they brought in another member of the scheme beneath them in the structure and hierarchy of the scheme. The defendant remained a close associate. She was often traveling with them, often traveling with Kellen together. So as Kellen took on some of the tasks that were then delegated to a lower member of the conspiracy, the defendant was higher up in the leadership structure."
Kellen could not be reached for comment.
She was named in the infamous non-prosecution agreement Epstein made with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2007, where he pleaded guilty to state-level prostitution charges. As part of the agreement, prosecutors also agreed not to pursue charges against Kellen and three of Epstein's other female employees.
A compensation fund (established after Epstein died in jail while awaiting trial on his own set of sex-trafficking charges) also refused to "carve out" Kellen from its release form, which protects her from civil litigation from any of the accusers who took money from the program, as Insider previously reported.
The Epstein Victims' Compensation Program identified 225 of his victims in total.
While Maxwell's attorneys argued that the 2007 non-prosecution agreement in Florida protected her from any federal charges, Nathan sided with prosecutors and rejected that argument. It's not clear if her ruling would also apply to any other charges federal prosecutors in Manhattan might bring against other Epstein associates.
Following Maxwell's sentencing, one of her victims, Annie Farmer, told reporters that she hoped the 20-year sentence would send a signal to abusers that they will be punished.
"I just hope that this sentence is another sign that victims are coming together and saying 'no more,'" Farmer said. "If you commit these crimes, you will be punished. If you facilitate these crimes, you will be punished. If you are a bystander that looks the other way, you will not be allowed to continue to be put in a position of power."
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