Buckingham Palace stepped up its denial that Prince Andrew had sex with an underage girl and named the victim whose allegations they say are untrue. (Reuters)

Prince Andrew was named this week in an ongoing lawsuit brought by a group of women who claim they were trafficked to the world’s rich and powerful as part of an alleged underage “sex slave” ring run by American investment banker Jeffrey Epstein.

The allegation, found in a court filing this week, prompted Buckingham Palace to issue an unusual statement to the Guardian, noting that the allegation surfaced in “long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States to which the Duke of York is not a party.” The statement continues: “As such we would not comment in detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”

As part of a 2008 plea deal with prosecutors, Epstein spent 13 months in prison on a state charge of soliciting prostitutes. According to unsealed documents pertaining to that deal, Epstein was the subject of a federal investigation probing allegations that the powerful figure abused dozens of underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion. The deal effectively allowed him to avoid potential federal charges stemming from the investigation.

The lawsuit, filed in 2008 by two anonymous alleged victims, charges federal prosecutors with violating a statute by not consulting with them before finalizing the plea deal. The latest filing is a motion to expand that existing case to include the allegations of two more women.

Those women named Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz and other powerful associates of Epstein as participants in the alleged sexual abuse ring. It’s the first time the Duke of York’s name has appeared in a court document alleging that he sexually abused Epstein’s alleged victims.

But as the Guardian’s reporting makes clear, this isn’t the first time the Duke of York’s name has been linked publicly to the allegations against Epstein: Prince Andrew was friends with Epstein for years — before, during and after the banker served time in prison. In 2011, responding to a statement from one of Epstein’s former employees, Prince Andrew told Vanity Fair that he never attended any of the notorious pool parties at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion and denied having contact with the alleged victims. He allegedly ended his friendship with Epstein at some point that year.

In the new motion, “Jane Doe #3” says she was “forced to have sexual relations with this Prince when she was a minor in three separate geographical locations,” including in British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s apartment in London; during an “orgy” on Epstein’s island in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and in New York.

“Epstein instructed Jane Doe #3 that she was to give the Prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe #3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse,” the document says. Maxwell is a friend of Epstein’s who is named as a co-conspirator in the suit.

Dershowitz, too, has denied the allegations against him in the new motion. Speaking to Politico this week, the attorney said the claims were “totally, unequivocally and completely false.” Those allegations include a claim that “Deshowitz was an eye-witness to the sexual abuse of many other minors by Epstein and several of Epstein’s co-conspirators,” that “Epstein required Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions,” and that the attorney played “a significant role” in negotiating Epstein’s federal plea agreement.

Dershowitz told Politico he’s planning on filing some charges of his own in response to the allegations:

“[I’m] planning to file disbarment charges against the two lawyers who signed this petition without even checking the manifests of airplanes or travel itineraries, et cetera,” he said. “I’m also challenging the young woman and the lawyers to level those charges against me outside of the courtroom, so that I can sue them for defamation…..Finally, I’m challenging the woman to file criminal charges against me because the filing of false criminal charges is a crime.”

Federal prosecutors identified more than 40 potential victims in their investigation against Epstein before the federal inquiry was dropped in the plea deal. Some of those victims have reached out-of-court settlements with Epstein for undisclosed amounts.

According to the motion, Epstein’s clients included “many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders.” The alleged victim accuses Epstein of requiring the women he gave to powerful individuals to “describe the events” with them “so that he could potentially blackmail them.”

Through her lawyers, Jane Doe #3 issued the following statement to the Guardian in response to the denials of her alleged abusers: “These types of aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time. That trend should change. I’m not going to be bullied back into silence.”

The paper reported that it knew the identity of the alleged victim, but would respect her wishes to remain anonymous in connection to the suit.