On Monday, attorneys for Virginia Giuffre filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, where the American financier was charged criminally with sex trafficking a month before he killed himself at age 66 in August 2019. At the time, Epstein was in an adjacent federal jail where he was ordered to await trial.
Giuffre previously made waves when she went public with her accusations against the Duke of York, alleging the British royal abused her when she was under 18 including at Epstein’s Manhattan home.
The 38-year-old has repeatedly made her allegations against Epstein, his onetime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and Andrew, but the lawsuit was the first time she has directly confronted the son of Queen Elizabeth II in such a formal setting.
Virginia Giuffre holds a photo of herself at age 16, when she says Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her sexually. (Emily Michot/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
The case alleges that Andrew, 61, engaged in sexual acts without her consent, knowing how old she was and “that she was a sex-trafficking victim,” the BBC reported on Tuesday. The case noted that the “extreme and outrageous conduct” continues to cause Giuffre “significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.”
“In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection,” the documents read, as quoted by the outlet.
“Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her,” the documents continued. “It is long past the time for him to be held to account.”
In a statement sent to Fox News, Giuffre said she wanted to hold Andrew “accountable.”
Photo from 2001 that was included in court files shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)
“Today my attorney filed suit against Prince Andrew for sexual abuse under the Child Victims Act,” wrote Giuffre. “As the suit lays out in detail, I was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him.”
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she shared. “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,” Giuffre continued. “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.”
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. The Palace has previously denied the allegations.
Royal Ascot Race Meeting Thursday – Ladies Day. Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right) At Ascot. With them are Edward (far left) and Caroline Stanley (in pink), the Earl and Countess of Derby. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images )
“It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts,” they have told Fox News. “Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
The statement continued: “The Duke of York unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein’s suicide left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims. The Duke deeply sympathizes with those affected who want some form of closure. It is his hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. The Duke is willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required.
“The Duke has already stated that he did not see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and conviction. He deplores the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behavior.”
In late 2019, Andrew told BBC Newsnight that he never had sex with Giuffre, who was known as Virginia Roberts at the time.
“It didn’t happen,” he stressed.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Andrew also alleged he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her and told an interviewer there are “a number of things that are wrong” about Giuffre’s account, which alleges the encounter occurred in 2001.
“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said.
The interview was widely panned by critics who said Andrew seemed insensitive to Epstein’s victims. Afterward, the prince stepped back from royal duties and has attempted to keep a low profile.
Giuffre has long said Maxwell, 59, 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 she was under the age of 18. During each of the alleged acts, Giuffre was given “express or implied threats” by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Andrew to engage in sexual acts with the prince, the lawsuit said.
Britain’s Prince Andrew has previously denied the allegations. (Reuters/Neil Hall )
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.”
It also said that on one occasion, the prince sexually abused her in Maxwell’s London home when Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew forced her to have sexual intercourse with the prince against her will.
On another occasion, the prince sexually abused Giuffre in Epstein’s New York mansion when Maxwell forced Giuffre and another victim to sit on Andrew’s lap as he touched her, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleged that Andrew sexually abused Giuffre on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Andrew knew her age at the time based on communications with Epstein and Maxwell, the lawsuit added. It said he went ahead anyway “for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desires.”
David Boies, representing several of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, center, arrives with Annie Farmer, right, and Virginia Giuffre, alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein, second left, at federal court in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. Epstein, a convicted pedophile, killed himself in prison earlier this month while awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy and trafficking minors for sex. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November. She is held without bail. Her lawyers did not 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 Andrew. The request, similar to issuing a subpoena, was made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an agreement between the two countries to share evidence and information in criminal cases. U.S. prosecutors reportedly made a formal request through the British government to interview Andrew.
Brad Edwards, a lawyer who represents dozens of Epstein victims, has said that the prince has failed to answer questions for civil lawsuits before.
“I’ve always been given the impression that, whether he has immunity or not, he certainly behaves like he does,” Edwards said.
Fox News’ Nate Day and The Associated Press contributed to this report.