A symbolic triumph will not suffice.
Ghislaine Maxwell's conviction on five of six counts of recruiting and grooming adolescent females for sexual meetings with notorious billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is not, and should not be, the end of the narrative. While Maxwell has been held responsible for her crimes, the males who had similar contacts with young girls have not been, at least not yet. Maxwell may be able to negotiate a lower sentence with the court if she provides the identities and possibly films that Epstein filmed of some of the men who visited his Caribbean island and New York residence.
For far too long, too many men have dodged consequences for their affairs with prostitutes and young girls. While some have been charged with crimes, the majority appear to have gotten away with it. When police arrest prostitutes, the "Johns" all too often get away with it or pay a fee to stay out of the spotlight.
Returning to a former practice that proved to function as a deterrent might be one strategy to prevent this sleazy conduct.
Two Trenton, New Jersey, newspapers chose to publicize not only the identities of prostitutes who had been caught, but also the names of the men who solicited them 35 years earlier. "It was awful enough being charged with patronizing a policewoman acting as a prostitute, said Jack," the Associated Press reported in 1987. (not his real name). Then his name and address were on the top page of a newspaper."
The newspapers suspended the practice in 1977 after a man they named committed suicide. They resumed it a decade later. “Jack” was quoted as saying, “My family had a hard time dealing with it. It put us up to public ridicule. We got anonymous phone calls.”
The fear of public ridicule should be enough to give men who would engage in such acts second thoughts. If laws are not enough to act as sufficient deterrents, maybe shame and ridicule will do the job.
Knowing if influential and rich men engaged in sex activities with young girls has the potential to remove or maintain them from positions of power. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have previously been proven to be frequent fliers on Epstein's plane. Mr. Trump flew on the plane six times between Palm Beach and New York City airports, according to flight logs produced during Maxwell's trial, often accompanied by his then-wife, Marla Maples, and their baby daughter, Tiffany. At least 26 occasions, Mr. Clinton was a passenger. Clinton flew without his Secret Service detail on at least five of the flights, according to records obtained by foxnews.com, and trips between 2001 and 2003 "included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including 'Tatiana.'" The swanky plane got its Nabokov-inspired moniker (Lolita Express) because it was said to include a bed where guests could have group sex with young females."
People will make their own conclusions based on both men's history of behaving with women. Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Clinton have been accused of anything unlawful or improper. Whether or not Maxwell uses any of the information she has to negotiate a reduced sentence, I hope that details about all the men who visited Epstein's island and New York home are made public as a warning to others who may have illegal and certainly immoral fantasies and believe they can get away with it.
The Washington Post quoted “advocates” for sexually abused girls and women, saying the Maxwell conviction is a “symbolic win” for survivors. It should be more than symbolic. Outing all the men who abused these women will make it so.