Virginia Giuffre’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, where Epstein was criminally charged with sex trafficking a month before committing suicide at age 66 in August 2019 in an adjacent federal jail where he was ordered to await trial.
Giuffre has repeatedly made his accusations against Epstein, his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and Andrew, but the lawsuit was the first time he had directly confronted Andrew in such a formal setting. The PR pressure on the prince increases, even if he remains out of the reach of the courts.
In a statement, Giuffre said he was “ holding Prince Andrew responsible for what he did to me. ”
“ The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held accountable for their actions. I hope that other victims see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to recover life by speaking out and demanding justice, ” Giuffre said.
“ I did not make this decision lightly, ” he added. “ As a mother and wife, my family comes first, and I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates, but I knew that if I did not continue with this action, I would leave them and the victims. everywhere down. ”
In late 2019, Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight that he never had sex with Giuffre, saying: “ It didn’t happen. ”
He said he “ doesn’t remember ” meeting her and told an interviewer that there are “ several things that are wrong ” in Giuffre’s account, which he alleges that the encounter occurred in 2001.
“ I can tell you absolutely categorically that it never happened, ” Andrew said.
The interview was widely criticized by critics who said Andrew seemed insensitive to Epstein’s victims. Subsequently, the prince resigned from royal duties.
Giuffre has long said that Maxwell recruited her at age 17 to be sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell from 1999 to 2002.
According to the lawsuit, which sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, the prince abused Giuffre on multiple occasions when he was under 18 years of age.
During each of the alleged acts, Giuffre received “ express or implied threats ” from Epstein, Maxwell and / or Andrew to engage in sexual acts with the prince, according to the lawsuit.
She said that she “ feared death or physical injury to herself or another person and other repercussions for disobeying ” the trio because of their “ powerful connections, wealth and authority. ”
She said the prince once sexually abused her at Maxwell’s London home when Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew forced her to have sex with the prince against her will.
On another occasion, the prince sexually abused Giuffre at Epstein’s New York mansion when Maxwell forced Giuffre and another victim to sit on Andrew’s lap while he touched her, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges that Andrew sexually abused Giuffre on the private island of Epstein in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Andrew knew his age at the time based on communications with Epstein and Maxwell, the lawsuit added. He said he went ahead anyway “ for the purpose of satisfying his sexual desires. ”
The lawsuit was filed under the Child Victims Act, a 2019 New York state law that allows victims to make temporary legal claims of abuse that occurred as children, regardless of when or how long the alleged abuse occurred.
Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to the sex trafficking charges in federal court in Manhattan, where he faces trial in November. She is being held without the right to bail. His attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
As part of an ongoing investigation into Epstein and his encounters with women and teens, federal prosecutors in Manhattan formally requested last year to speak with Andrew.
The request, similar to the issuance of a subpoena, was made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an agreement between the two countries to share evidence and information in criminal cases. US prosecutors reportedly made a formal request through the British government to interview Andrew.
Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing dozens of Epstein victims, has said the prince has not responded to questions in the civil lawsuits before.
“ He’s always given me the impression that whether he has immunity or not, he certainly behaves the way he does, ” Edwards said.