Virginia Giuffre, one of the most prominent accusers against Jeffrey Epstein, filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew, claiming he sexually assaulted her when she was 17. Giuffre’s lawsuit repeats her longtime claims that Prince Andrew raped and sexually abused her when she was underage. Giuffre, 38, had detailed in legal filings against Epstein that the financier had repeatedly offered her to the second son of Queen Elizabeth II for sex when she was a teenager. In the lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, Giuffre accuses the British royal of sexually abusing her at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan as well as other places in 2001. “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.
Giuffre issued a statement saying her lawsuit was about “holding Prince Andrew accountable” and encouraging other victims to speak up. “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 said.
Giuffre’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed almost two years to the day since Epstein was found dead in his prison cell from an apparent suicide on Aug. 10, 2019. And it was filed mere days before the expiration date of a New York state law that allows alleged victims of sexual abuse while they were children to file lawsuits that might not otherwise be possible due to the statute of limitations.
Although Giuffre has detailed the allegations against the royal before, the lawsuit marks the first time she confronts him directly in a formal setting. And it increases the public relations pressure on the prince. Andrew vehemently denied Giuffre’s allegations in a November 2019 interview with the BBC that was widely criticized for his seeming insensitivity to Epstein’s victims. Andrew denied he ever had sexual relations with Giuffre and says he can’t remember meeting her even though there is a photograph showing the prince with his arm around her waist when she was 17. The prince suggested that image may have been doctored. Andrew quit his royal duties after the interview.