Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew, citing assault at 17

British royal told BBC in 2019 that 'it didn't happen'

Virginia Giuffre has sued Prince Andrew saying he sexually assaulted her when she was 17. AP

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s long-time accusers sued Prince Andrew on Monday, claiming he sexually assaulted her when she was 17.

Lawyers for Virginia Giuffre filed the lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court in New York.

Ms Giuffre said the lawsuit was brought under the Child Victims Act to allege she was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him, claims Andrew has denied.

“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she said. “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.

“I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first … but I knew if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”

In late 2019, Prince Andrew told the BBC's Newsnight that he never had sex with Ms Giuffre: “It didn’t happen."

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

“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Prince Andrew said.

The lawsuit, which sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, claims the prince abused Ms Giuffre on several occasions when she was under the age of 18.

It alleged that the prince sexually abused her in London at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell, in Epstein's New York mansion and on Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Ms Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November.

Epstein, 66, took his own life in a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges.

As part of its continuing probe into Epstein and his encounters with women and teenage girls, Manhattan federal prosecutors formally requested to speak with Prince Andrew.

The request, similar to issuing a subpoena, was made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, an agreement between the two countries to share evidence and information in criminal cases.

Updated: August 10th 2021, 4:12 AM