NEW YORK — Britain's Prince Andrew has been sued in New York by a woman who said she was forced to have sexual encounters with the prominent royal while she was trafficked beginning at age 16 by his friend Jeffrey Epstein, including at the late sex offender's sprawling mansion in Manhattan.
Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, citing the state’s Child Victims Act, legislation passed several years ago that extended the statute of limitations for adults who were allegedly abused as children to sue. The lawsuit was filed just as Giuffre’s Aug. 14 deadline to do so was nearing.
Attorneys for Andrew, the Duke of York, who are located in Britain, either declined to comment or did not respond to an email request seeking comment Monday night. Andrew has repeatedly denied having had any sexual encounter with Giuffre, although questions over his ties to Epstein led to him stepping down from public duties in November 2019.
The filing says Andrew abused Giuffre several times when she was 17, calling damage done to her by the conduct “severe and lasting.”
The alleged abuse by Andrew first occurred at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime companion.
Maxwell, who has been described as a groomer and recruiter for Epstein who sometimes participated in the abuse, is under federal indictment in New York for sex trafficking and related charges. She is set to stand trial in November and maintains her innocence.
The lawsuit also says Giuffre was taken advantage of by Andrew at Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
“During this encounter, Maxwell forced [Giuffre], a child, and another victim to sit on Prince Andrew’s lap as Prince Andrew touched her,” the lawsuit says. “During his visit to New York, Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff to engage in sex acts against her will.”
The lawsuit alleges Andrew also had an illicit sexual encounter with Giuffre, whose maiden name is Virginia Roberts, on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Little St. James.
Epstein socialized with the rich and famous, including with the likes of former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
Dozens of women have come forward to say Epstein sexually abused them as girls, many describing how they were troubled teens who were lured to the abundantly wealthy financier’s lavish homes with the promise of easy money to give massages.
He was given a controversial plea deal in Florida in 2008 — despite a number of victims having been identified by law enforcement — and served about a year in jail with a lot of time free for work release.
In 2019, federal prosecutors in New York showed renewed interest in Epstein’s activities when they indicted him for sex trafficking in a case that kept him locked up in jail pending trial. He died by suicide in jail in August that year, about a month after his arrest.
His premature death left many of his accusers feeling cheated for not getting the chance to see justice served. Giuffre, one of those women, says she was sexually trafficked by Epstein beginning at age 16.
Giuffre’s attorney, David Boies, recently approached lawyers for Andrew with a request for what’s known as a tolling agreement, which would have waived the statute of limitations deadline for the purpose of potentially working out a confidential settlement with his client. Andrew’s lawyers did not agree.
The letter, sent July 19, also says that attempts to negotiate a possible settlement had been unsuccessful to date.
Boies said Giuffre, who has also sued Maxwell, thought bringing the case was “important not only to vindicate herself but to vindicate all victims of this kind of sex trafficking.”
“Hopefully by holding Prince Andrew to account, [she can] make some progress toward reducing the chance that what happened to her does not happen to other young women,” Boies added.
Boies said he did not get the sense that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which handled the prosecutions of Epstein and Maxwell, was planning to pursue a criminal case against Andrew.
If Andrew’s legal team ignores the lawsuit, Giuffre could be granted a judgment in her favor and Boies could ask a British court to enforce the ruling.