Virginia Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, is attempting to sue the 61-year-old British prince for alleged historic cases of sexual assault and emotional distress.
The mother-of-three spoke about her experience at the hands of child groomer and paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, prior to Epstein taking his own life while incarcerated and facing allegations of grooming and exploitation.
What has Prince Andrew been accused of?
Giuffre claims Andrew sexually assaulted her at Maxwell’s London apartment in 2001, as well as a in Epstein’s New York apartment on a second occassion and finally on Epstein’s private island in the Virgin Islands.
The accusation dates back to two decades ago, when Ms Giuffre was under the age of 18 and her lawyer claims she was a “frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her.”
Now 38 years old, Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The Duke of York attempted to have the case thrown out, on the basis that the accuser signed a deal with convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, in 2009 which voided her attempt to take Prince Andrew to trial.
In the deal, Ms Giuffre had agreed not to bring any future cases against other “potential defendants”, which Andrew’s lawyers said would include Prince Andrew despite him not being named in the document. Judge Lewis A Kaplan has ruled that she will be able to bring a civil case against the royal despite the signed deal, meaning the British royal now faces a court battle.
The initial court papers filed against the prince read: “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.”
The initial claims of Ms Giuffre were revealed in court filings against Epstein in 2014, when she mentioned Andrew in court filings.
“I was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him,” Ms Giuffre said in a statement.
“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.
“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.”
When was the case filed?
The case was filed in New York federal court just days before the expiration date of a state law that allows alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse to file claims that would otherwise be prevented by statutes of limitations, and was revealed on 10 August 2021.
At the time, Giuffre’s lawyer told ABC News that Giuffre did not want the powerful prince to “escape any accountability for his actions.”
Attorney David Boies added: “Virginia is committed to trying to avoid situations where rich and powerful people escape any accountability for their actions.”
Despite a lengthy attempt by Prince Andrew’s lawyers to discredit the case, it will now go ahead.
Who is Virginia Giuffre?
Virginia Louise Giuffre is an activist who campaigns for an end to sex trafficking of women.
Formerly Virginia Louise Roberts, she grew up in California but now lives in Australia with her husband, two sons and a daughter.
She alleges that she was groomed by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell when she was 17 years old, before being forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions.
Giuffre initially mentioned Andrew in a case launched to challenge Epstein’s 2008 deal with federal prosecutors, she accused Epstein and his confidant and girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell of forcing her to have sex with the prince three times in 2001.
Her claims have already been denied by Andrew, who gave an infamous interview to BBC’s Emily Maitlis in 2019.
In the interview, he claimed he had cooperated with US courts fully and would continue to do so. He also claimed a picture taken in Ms Maxwell’s London apartment which clearly shows the prince with his arm around 17-year-old Ms Giuffre was potentially doctored, as he had no recollection of it.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.