Jeffrey Epstein accuser sues Prince Andrew, alleging sexual assault when she was 17

Britain's Prince Andrew in a chapel
Britain’s Prince Andrew stands inside St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, in England, during the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, in April.
(Yui Mok / Pool Photo)

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime accusers sued Britain’s Prince Andrew on Monday, taking to a formal venue her repeated accusations that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17.

Lawyers for Virginia Giuffre filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, where Epstein was charged criminally with sex-trafficking a month before he killed himself in August 2019 in an adjacent federal jail where he was ordered to await trial.

Giuffre has repeatedly made her allegations against Epstein, his onetime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew, but the lawsuit represents the first time she has directly confronted the prince in such a formal setting. It steps up public relations pressure on the prince, even if he remains beyond the reach of the courts.


In a statement, Giuffre said she was “holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me.”

“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,” Giuffre said.

“I did not come to this decision lightly,” she added. “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.”

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In late 2019, Prince Andrew told the BBC’s Newsnight program that he never had sex with Giuffre, saying, “It didn’t happen.”

He said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting her and told an interviewer that there were “a number of things that are wrong” about Giuffre’s account, which alleges that the encounter occurred in 2001.

“I can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened,” the prince said.

The interview was widely panned by critics who said Andrew seemed insensitive to Epstein’s victims. Afterward, the prince quit royal duties.

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Giuffre has long said Maxwell recruited her when she was 17 to be sexually abused by Epstein and Maxwell from 1999 to 2002.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, alleges that the prince abused Giuffre on multiple occasions when she was under 18. “Express or implied threats” were made to Giuffre by Epstein, Maxwell and/or Andrew to persuade her to engage in sexual acts with the prince, the lawsuit said.

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 said that on one occasion, Prince Andrew sexually abused her in Maxwell’s London home when Epstein, Maxwell and the prince forced her to have sex with the prince against her will.

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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 also 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.”

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, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November. She is being 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 Prince Andrew, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s second son.

The request, similar to issuing a subpoena, was made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an agreement between the U.S. and Britain 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.