The woman has accused Prince Andrew of forcing her to have sex when she was underage at the London home of Epstein's longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
Trigger Warning: This story contains instances of sexual abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
Prince Andrew of Britain, better known as the Duke Of York has reportedly been served with a sexual assault lawsuit in the United States, reports Reuters. The lawsuit was issued by lawyers for a woman who alleges she was forced to have intercourse with Prince Andrew at the London home of a friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, court papers show.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, lawyers for Virginia Giuffre said they sent the civil lawsuit to the prince's Los Angeles-based lawyer Andrew Brettler by email and FedEx. Both copies were received by the Duke's lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, at the law firm of Lavely and Singer in Los Angeles on Monday morning at 9:22 a.m. local time, notes CNN.
Per federal rules in place, the Duke of York has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit, and if he fails to do so, he could face a default judgment, states NBC News.
🚨 | NEW: Virginia Roberts's lawyers have released a photo of the sex abuse legal papers being posted to Prince Andrew, with him mum in the corner pic.twitter.com/4wfOzzghEg— Politics For All (@PoliticsForAlI) September 17, 2021
Giuffre, who was Epstein's most prominent accuser, alleged in the lawsuit that Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17 years old, per another report by NBC News. The suit alleges that Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier who died by suicide in 2019 after he was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges, and Epstein's longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, compelled Giuffre to engage in sexual acts with Andrew 20 years ago.
Giuffre accused Andrew of forcing her to have sex when she was underage at the London home of Epstein's longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell. She also said Andrew abused her at around the same time in Epstein's mansion in Manhattan and on Epstein's private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Britain's Prince Andrew has been served in the United States with a sexual assault lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre, who said his conduct occurred around when his friend Jeffrey Epstein was sexually abusing her, court papers show https://t.co/EpnV91HvEF pic.twitter.com/BhnLftDRuH— Reuters (@Reuters) September 21, 2021
"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," says the lawsuit filed on August 9, 2021, in New York, which seeks damages for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
"The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions," Giuffre said in a statement. "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."
Meanwhile, Andrew and his lawyers have denied 38-year-old Giuffre's claims. The 61-year-old prince has not been charged with crimes. In fact, in an interview with the BBC in 2019, Andrew said that he had no recollection of having ever met her, even though there was a widely circulated photograph of the two of them showing otherwise, and that he was at a pizza restaurant with his daughter on the day in 2001 that Giuffre alleges they had a sexual encounter in London.
The ridiculous situation of Prince Andrew using the protection of guards we pay for to allow his lawyers to claim in court he has not been 'properly served' with legal papers is abhorrent https://t.co/Bk5hP3Mvop #r4today— Andy Birss (@1957AJB) September 14, 2021
"It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
A while ago, London's High Court said it would arrange for Andrew to be served if the parties didn't work out their own arrangement. The court also gave the prince's lawyers a week to appeal that decision.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Duke's lawyers said it was highly unlikely any challenge would be pursued now.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Steve Parsons