Bradford, NH, residents react to hometown arrest in Epstein case

Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, center,...
Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, center, speaks alongside William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, right, during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (WCAX)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 9:42 AM EDT
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Residents of Bradford, New Hampshire, are reacting to reports that Ghislaine Maxwell, a woman accused of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday.

Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent travel companion, was taken into custody around 8:30 a.m., according to the FBI. An indictment unsealed Thursday said Maxwell facilitated Epstein’s crimes.

"Maxwell was among Epstein's closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old. Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse. In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself," said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.

Epstein killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Bradford is about five miles south of Lake Sunapee, with approximately 1,700 residents. Local residents we spoke with Thursday were shocked by the news.

"Bradford of all places -- shocked, seriously shocked -- because nothing really happens around here. Nothing. It's a quiet town," said Kristie Dunn, a local resident.

"It's a blessing she got caught, and here in our own town, that's kind of good. Maybe somebody turned her in and stepped up and the guys caught her," Linda Birons, a local resident.

At this time we don't know Maxwell's connection to the area and we don't know why she was there.

Among the most sensational accusations against Maxwell was a claim by one Epstein victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, that she arranged for her to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. Andrew denied her story.

Maxwell was described in a lawsuit by another Epstein victim, Sarah Ransome, as the "highest-ranking employee" of Epstein's alleged sex trafficking enterprise. She oversaw and trained recruiters, developed recruiting plans and helped conceal the activity from law enforcement, the lawsuit alleged.

Maxwell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called some of the claims against her “absolute rubbish."