Virginia Giuffre, one of the women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of trafficking her when she was a teenager, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against Prince Andrew on Monday, claiming he sexually assaulted her when she was 17.
"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."
Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her multiple times while she was under 18, including once during a trip to London, when Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will.
The lawsuit says that because of the trio's "powerful connections, wealth, and authority," Giuffre "feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying" their orders that she have sex with Prince Andrew. The suit also says Prince Andrew knew at the time that Giuffre was a minor. She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, The Associated Press reports.
In 2019, Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight that he had "no recollection" of ever meeting Giuffre, and he could "absolutely categorically tell you" he did not force her to have sex. Epstein died by suicide in August 2019 after being arrested on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell was arrested in 2020 on sex trafficking charges; she pleaded not guilty and is set to go on trial in November.