One of the most prominent accusers of Jeffrey Epstein, the well-connected, mysterious financier long accused of child sex trafficking who died facing charges for the same in his Manhattan federal jail cell in 2019, has filed a lawsuit against the United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew.
Virginia Giuffre has long alleged that Epstein and his accused co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, coerced and threatened her into having sex with the prince when she was just 17, but this is the first time she has confronted him with sex abuse charges in a formal venue.
Prince Andrew has “categorically” denied ever knowing Giuffre much less sexually abusing her when she was a minor, going as far as to suggest that a now-infamous photograph of himself with the then-teenaged Giuffre was doctored.
Giuffre says that Andrew knew she was a teenager when he engaged in sexual acts with her, and that she feared punishment and even her life at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell if she refused to comply.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the same Manhattan federal court that Epstein was charged in 2019 with sex trafficking. It was the adjoining prison facility in which he is said to have taken his own life nearly exactly two years before Giuffre’s lawsuit.
“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 in a statement announcing she’d decided to hold Prince Andrew “accountable for what he did to me.”
“I did not come to this decision lightly,” she explained, as The Associated Press reported. “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.”
The lawsuit states that Giuffre was given “express or implied threats” by Epstein, Maxwell, and even Andrew to engage in sexual acts with him and that she “feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying” the three adults due to their “powerful connections, wealth, and authority.”
She claims that Prince Andrew abused her in Maxwell’s London home as well as Epstein’s notorious Manhattan penthouse and Caribbean island compound.
The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, was brought under the 2019 Child Victims Act, a New York state law that allows victims of sexual abuse to file legal claims of child abuse at any time, regardless of how long ago the alleged offense took place.
Maxwell, who has pled guilty to sex trafficking, is being held without bail and faces trial in November.
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