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3 December 2021

On Monday, November 29th, 2021, the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell opened and the world continues to watch with bated breath. The sordid story of a shadowy sex trafficker dying under dubious circumstances while awaiting trial is almost too sensational to believe. Add his one time girlfriend – turned pimp being sued and potentially naming names, and you have the premium makings of a soap opera.

Throw in the list of former presidents, celebrities, and royal family members, and even Days of Our Lives is holding up their hands and saying, “hold on, y’all. You’ve gone too far.”

Maxwell is the now-famous compatriot of Jeffrey Epstein who is accused of procuring minors for the wealthy businessman. Her trial only covers the dates 1994 – 1997. Maxwell’s alleged crimes include: convincing the young women to commit sex acts, transporting them from their cities to various locations, including Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands, and engaging in sexual misconduct herself.

Epstein was convicted of trafficking underage girls for prostitution in Florida in 2010 – only twelve years after purchasing an island where much of his illicit activities is alleged to have taken place. He was forced to register as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands and Ghislaine was ever by his side.

It’s easy, in a sensational case like this, to focus on the villains who engages in these reprehensible activities; but atrocities like this don’t happen in a vacuum. It takes a village (to quote Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill Clinton – an alleged regular on Pedophile Island) to run an outfit like this.

The island and its activities were no secret. In fact, the locals referred to “Little St. James” as “Pedophile Island.” So bad was the treatment of the trafficked, that one 15 year old girl tried to swim the two miles of ocean to reach mainland. Another victim described being raped by Epstein while a gun hung from the bedpost.

In 2002, Donald Trump commented on Epstein’s proclivities to a New York magazine profile, “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Epstein had four helicopters and three planes. They all had to be piloted. David Rogers, one of the pilots did hand over his flight logs from 2009 – over a decade of flying victims, but only after being called out by one of the victims. Larry Visoski, another pilot, just testified on Wednesday that he met one of the victims on his plane but that he didn’t see any misconduct; only that she had “piercing powder blue eyes.”

Adam Perry Lang worked for Epstein from 1999 to 2003 as a chef. He agreed to come forward only after Virginia Giuffre, an Epstein victim, implored him to. 

As the trial begins and witnesses are questioned, the lawyers tasked with representing Maxwell won’t concern themselves with the moral quandary of what their client did – they will protect her at all costs.  Should she name names, as she has offered to do, other lawyers of the rich and famous will leap, pell-mell, over the bodies of trafficked minors to protect their own clients.

The pedophiles are being protected.

If there is one crime that we can all gather around and agree that heads should roll for, it’s pedophilia. Ripping the innocence of a child from them for your own lustful purposes is heinous and deserves the most extreme punishment a civilized society can muster. The chance for reform is over and the only honorable option is for the abuser to pay for their actions with their life.

With that said, I want a fair trial. I want all crimes punished before a jury of peers.

What I fear, is that Ghislaine will be used as a scapegoat, thrown in prison, and the chorus of powerful people who finance this sick industry will get away with it because they have protection. Worse yet, Maxwell may meet her own demise in similar circumstances to her sex offender boyfriend but not in a vigilante show of justice (certainly not advocating that) but to protect the rich and powerful people she could implicate.

The pedophiles are being protected.

Not just from lawyers and sympathetic press, but regular people in their employ whose job it is to transport, feed, and pay off the victims. These people could have blown the whistle at any moment – physically intervened, if necessary but choose to accept the paycheck and go about their lives, swearing they knew nothing about the crimes committed.

This moral pandemic doesn’t end until all of us accept our responsibility in standing up to the abusers. It means stepping in and helping the person getting mugged rather than videotaping them. It means being vigilant and watchful of the community around us. It may even mean fighting a fight we aren’t guaranteed to win.

As poet, Suzy Kassem so beautifully put it:

I would rather die fighting for what is right, than live passively amidst all that is wrong.—Suzy Kassem

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Paul Thompson is an internationally performed composer and owner of House of El Music. He regularly writes for movies, theater, albums, and live events. His first novel, Drosselmeyer: Curse of the Rat King (a prequel to the Nutcracker) debuted in September of 2021. He lives in Dallas, TX with his moderately well behaved beagle, C.K.

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