“The powerful and rich are not exempt”: Prince Andrew sued over alleged sexual assault
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT
Australian-American Virginia Giuffre, one of Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime accusers, has sued Prince Andrew, saying he sexually assaulted her when she was 17.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyers filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Monday.
In a statement, Ms Guiffre said the lawsuit, where she alleges she was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him, was brought under the Child Victims Act.
Under the act, victims of childhood sexual abuse can file a lawsuit up to the age of 55 against a person or institution that may have been involved.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she said.
“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.
“I did not come to this decision lightly,” she continued.
Image: Virginia Guiffre / Instagram
“As a mother and a 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 if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”
In a previous interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019, Prince Andrew said he had never had sex with Ms Guiffre.
“It didn’t happen,” he said.
He continued to say he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her and that there were “a number of things that are wrong” about her account of the encounter that allegedly occurred in 2001.
“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said.
According to the allegations, Prince Andrew abused Ms Guiffre multiple times while she was under the age of 18.
On one occasion that allegedly occurred in Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in London, Guiffre was allegedly forced by Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew to have sexual intercourse with the prince against her will.
The lawsuit also claims that on a separate occasion, Prince Andrew allegedly sexually abused Guiffre at Epstein’s New York home, where Maxwell forced Guiffre and another victim to sit on Andrew’s lap while he touched her.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Andrew sexually abused the plaintiff on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
During each incident, Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew gave her “express or implied threats” to engage in the sexual acts with the prince, according to the lawsuit.
Melania Trump, Prince Andrew, Gwendolyn Beck, and Jeffrey Epstein. Image: Getty
Ms Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges, and will face trial at Manhattan federal court in November.
Epstein died at the age of 66 while in federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019, one month after his arrest for sex trafficking charges.
Manhattan prosecutors have formally requested to speak with Prince Andrew as part of their continuing probe into Epstein and his encounters with women and teenage girls.
Ms Guiffre’s action comes as a fund set up to pay Epstein’s victims announced that it had largely completed its work on Monday, after agreeing to provide $US 125 million ($NZD 179 million) to more than 135 individuals.
The Epstein Victims Compensation Program, administered by Jordana Feldman, was designed as an alternative to lawsuits, which could take years to result in a payout.
Ms Feldman said 92 percent of 150 eligible applicants have accepted the payments offered by the fund, which were financed with money from Epstein’s estate.
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