Virginia Giuffre, who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexually trafficking her, is suing the U.K.’s Prince Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17.
The lawsuit was filed under the Child Victims Act in Manhattan federal court on Monday, the Associated Press reported.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” Giuffre said in a statement. “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. “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.”
Andrew told BBC Newsnight in 2019 that he never had sex with Giuffre, saying that “It didn’t happen.”
He said that there are “a number of things that are wrong” with Giuffre’s accusation, which she said happened in 2001, and that he has “no recollection” of ever meeting her, according to the AP.
“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said.
The lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, alleges that Andrew sexually abused Giuffre multiple times when she was under 18. One of these alleged occasions was at Maxwell’s London home when she, Epstein, and Andrew allegedly forced Giuffre to have sexual intercourse with the British prince.
Other alleged abuses occurred at Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and at his New York mansion.
The lawsuit also said that there were “express or implied threats” by the three to force Giuffre to engage in the sexual acts, and “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,'” according to the AP.
Giuffre also alleges that Andrew knew how old she was at the time, “based on communications with Epstein and Maxwell,” the AP reported.
Maxwell is facing trial in November in Manhattan federal court, where she pled not guilty to sex trafficking charges. She was a defendant in a 2015 defamation case brought against her by Giuffre, which was confidentially settled for an undisclosed amount of money in 2017 for Giuffre. Maxwell has denied Giuffre’s allegations.
Epstein was found hanged in Manhattan federal jail in August 2019, after being arrested on sex trafficking charges.
Manhattan federal prosecutors, who are still looking into Epstein, requested to speak with the U.K. prince “under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an agreement between the two countries to share evidence and information in criminal cases,” the AP reported.