An alleged victim of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit against British Prince Andrew on Monday, accusing the embattled 61-year-old royal of sexually abusing her at Epstein’s New York City mansion and elsewhere when she was under the age of 18.
The lawsuit, filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, comes almost two years to the day that Epstein died mysteriously in a New York jail while he was awaiting trial on conspiracy and child sex trafficking charges.
“If she doesn’t do it now, she would be allowing Prince Andrew to escape any accountability for his actions,” Giuffre’s attorney David Boies told ABC News, referring to the approaching statute of limitations for the alleged crimes committed.
“Virginia is committed to trying to avoid situations where rich and powerful people escape any accountability for their actions.”
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and accuses Andrew of sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“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. It is long past the time for him to be held to account,” the lawsuit states.
Reached late Monday, a spokesman for Andrew said there would be no comment on the suit.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the 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 one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice,” Giuffre said, via her lawyers, in a statement to ABC News.
“I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates. But I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down,” the statement said.
In a 2019 interview with the BBC, Andrew denied the allegations. “I’ve said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever,” the prince said.
Giuffre, now a 38-year-old mother living in Australia, first accused the prince of sexual abuse in 2014, when she alleged that she was directed by Epstein and his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell, now in custody in New York awaiting her own trial, to have sex with Andrew on three occasions in 2001, in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands.
Her claims were met then with vehement denials from Maxwell and from Buckingham Palace on behalf of the prince, the second son of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Since that time, Giuffre’s lawyers contend they have made multiple attempts to engage with Andrew or his advisers in discussions about her allegations in an effort to avoid litigation. But those efforts, Boies said, have been ignored.
“Since 2015, we’ve been trying to have a dialogue with Prince Andrew or his lawyers,” Boies said. “We have given him every opportunity to provide any explanation or context that he might have. We’ve tried to reach a resolution without the necessity of litigation. Prince Andrew and his lawyers have been totally non-responsive.”
Boies told ABC News on Monday that it is his hope that the lawsuit will finally lead to Andrew agreeing to answer questions under oath.
“It’s one thing to ignore me. It’s another thing to ignore the judicial process of the state of New York and the US,” Boies said.
“If Prince Andrew does not take seriously the rule of law in this country, he is being very ill-advised. The court will take it seriously.
“If he doesn’t take it seriously, it is at his peril.”