Virginia Roberts Giuffre has launched a legal case against Prince Andrew who had previously denied having sex with the then-teenager.
The lawyers for one of the alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in a Manhattan court on Monday.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre accused the 61-year-old British royal of having sexually assaulted her when she was 17.
Giuffre speaks up
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” Giuffre said in a statement. “The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim one’s life by speaking out and demanding justice.”
Giuffre’s lawyers filed the suit just days before the statute of limitations would have barred her from raising a legal case.
“If she doesn’t do it now, she would be allowing him to escape any accountability for his actions,” Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, told ABC news.
The complaint said Giuffre “was compelled by express or implied threats” by Epstein, Maxwell or Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Andrew, fearing repercussions for disobedience.
“Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her,” the complaint said.
Giuffre has said Epstein brought her to London to meet Andrew, and kept her as a “sex slave” with help from Maxwell, the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell.
Signed by Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies, the complaint accused Andrew of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, who is not a defendant in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
ANDREW DENIED ALLEGED ABUSE
Andrew told the BBC in November 2019 that he could not have had sex with Giuffre at Maxwell’s home because he had returned that night to his house after a children’s party.
“I can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said. “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Andrew called Epstein’s behavior “unbecoming,” but said he did not regret their friendship.
Soon after the interview, Andrew stepped down from royal duties, as charities and other organizations distanced themselves from him.
Monday’s complaint included a widely circulated photo of Giuffre and Andrew, both smiling, standing next to each other, with Giuffre wearing a pink tank top.
Giuffre said the photo was taken at Maxwell’s home before Andrew’s alleged abuse. Andrew said he had no recollection of the photograph being taken. He suggested the photograph may have been altered somehow.
Maxwell previously settled a separate civil defamation lawsuit by Giuffre.
She has separately pleaded not guilty to engaging in sex trafficking and grooming underage girls for Epstein to abuse. Her trial in Manhattan could begin in November.
Giuffre sued Andrew under the Child Victims Act, a New York state law allowing many child abuse victims to pursue claims against their alleged abusers, even if the abuse occurred decades earlier.
A window to bring many such claims expires this week.
Earlier on Monday, the administrator of a fund to compensate Epstein’s victims said she has completed the payout process, giving more than $121 million to about 138 people.
What are the accusations against Prince Andrew?
Giuffre said the prince abused her several times, including once in the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell when she was forced by Maxwell and Epstein to have sex with the royal against her will.
Giuffre said Prince Andrew also abused her at Epstein’s mansion in New York, and on a private island that Epstein owned in the US Virgin Islands.
The official complaint accused the royal of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Maxwell, who is not a defendant in this case, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges. Epstein committed suicide a month after being arrested on the same charges.
Andrew had ‘no recollection’ of meeting Giuffre
Prince Andrew denied having sex with Giuffre during an interview with the BBC in 2019. He said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her.
In the immediate aftermath of the interview, Andrew stepped back from royal duties over his friendship with Epstein.
Under an agreement between the US and Britain to share evidence and information in criminal cases, New York prosecutors had formally requested to speak with Andrew about Epstein’s case.
Brad Edwards, who represents dozens of Epstein’s alleged victims, said that the royal has previously failed to answer questions for civil lawsuits.
“I’ve always been given the impression that, whether he has immunity or not, he certainly behaves like he does,” Edwards said.