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One day last January , Ghislaine Maxwell stood in front of a classroom of children at Rockport Elementary School and gave a presentation about the ocean.

School officials said they had no idea Maxwell was a longtime confidante of the late Jeffrey Epstein. To them, she was the founder of TerraMar Project, a New York-based nonprofit that she established to help the environment and protect the world’s oceans.

“We had no knowledge” of Maxwell’s connections to Epstein, Rockport Schools Superintendent Rob Liebow said. Her presentation to the class was a one-time event that took place during school hours and was done at the request of the teacher, who was teaching a unit on oceans, he said.

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The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Maxwell had been sued by Jennifer Araoz, a woman who alleges that Epstein forcibly raped her when she was a teenager in 2002. The lawsuit accuses Maxwell of helping Epstein recruit teenage girls and providing “organizational support to Epstein’s sex trafficking ring.” Maxwell previously denied wrongdoing, saying any allegations she was involved in arranging sex for Epstein were “abhorrent and entirely untrue,” according to the AP.

Much has changed since Maxwell was a guest speaker at Rockport Elementary School. Maxwell’s old friend Epstein, who was facing sex trafficking charges, apparently committed suicide in a jail in New York City on Aug. 10. The TerraMar Project has been shut down. And Maxwell herself has come under increased scrutiny, especially after the Daily Mail reported that she has been living with her boyfriend Scott Borgerson in Manchester-by-the-Sea, one town over from Rockport.

Early last week, reporters and TV news trucks descended upon the quiet seaside town, hoping to get a glimpse of the British former socialite. But that did not come to pass. (The New York Post reported that Maxwell was seen eating at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles on Monday. And Borgerson told the Post that he is not dating Maxwell and described her as a “former friend,” according to Business Insider.)

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The Daily Mail reported Wednesday that Maxwell had been “laying low” at Borgerson’s mansion in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Borgerson is listed as the owner of the five-bedroom Colonial home on Summer Street, according to town building permit records from 2018. Assessing records show that the home has seven bathrooms and the property was last assessed at $2.9 million. The listing on Realtor.com states that the home has “spectacular views” and is “truly a magnificent one of a kind property situated in a sought after private enclave.”

Maxwell is seen as a possible target of federal prosecutors in New York, who continue to investigate Epstein’s activities.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.