Prince Andrew sued by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre over alleged sexual assault2 min read . Updated: 10 Aug 2021, 06:32 PM IST
- Lawyers are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the British royal
One of Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime accusers filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew Monday, taking accusations that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17 to a formal venue.
Lawyers for Virginia Giuffre filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, where Epstein was charged criminally with sex trafficking a month before he killed himself in August 2019 at an adjacent federal jail.
Ms. Giuffre has repeatedly made her allegations against Epstein, his onetime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew, but the lawsuit is the first time she has directly confronted the prince in such a formal setting.
In late 2019, Prince Andrew told the British Broadcast Corp. that he had never had sex with Ms. Giuffre. He said he has “no recollection" of ever meeting her and told an interviewer there are “a number of things that are wrong" about Ms. Giuffre’s account, which alleges the encounter occurred in 2001.
In a statement, Ms. Giuffre said she was “holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me."
“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," she said.
Ms. Giuffre has alleged that Ms. Maxwell recruited her at age 17 to be sexually abused by Epstein and Ms. Maxwell from 1999 to 2002.
The lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, alleges that Prince Andrew abused Ms. Giuffre on multiple occasions when she was under the age of 18. It said that she “feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying" the trio because of their “powerful connections, wealth, and authority."
The lawsuit was brought under the Child Victims Act, a 2019 New York state law that allows victims to temporarily make legal claims of abuse that occurred when they were children regardless of when or how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.
Ms. Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November. Her lawyers didn’t respond to requests for comment.
As part of a continuing probe into Epstein and his encounters with women and teenage girls, Manhattan federal prosecutors last year formally requested to speak with Prince Andrew.
The request, similar to issuing a subpoena, was made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an agreement between the U.S. and U.K. to share evidence and information in criminal cases. U.S. prosecutors reportedly made a formal request through the British government to interview the prince.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text
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