Alleged Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew, Duke of York on Monday, accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was still under 18.
The lawsuit, filed in New York, comes just before the deadline for alleged child sexual abuse victims to file civil claims that would normally be barred by statutes of limitations, ABC News reports. It also alleges that Andrew intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Giuffre.
“If she doesn't do it now, she would be allowing him to escape any accountability for his actions,” David Boies, Giuffre's attorney, told ABC.
“And Virginia is committed to trying to avoid situations where rich and powerful people escape any accountability for their actions," Boies added.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the royal.
Giuffre has claimed that she was directed to have sex with the British royal by Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001 in multiple different locations around the world. Andrew has claimed that he first became associated with Epstein beginning in 1999.
A well-circulated photo connected to the Epstein case appeared to show Prince Andrew with his arm around a then-17-year-old Giuffre's waist. Andrew later suggested in an interview that the photo had been doctored.
Prince Andrew could be sued in New York this week by Virginia Giuffre after he failed to respond to offers to settle her claims out of court, her lawyers have warned. https://t.co/tqOotvXPIA— The Times (@thetimes) August 9, 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,” the suit states.
"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," Giuffre said in a statement to ABC. "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," she added.
When reached for comment by ABC News, a spokesperson for Prince Andrew said no comment would be provided in regards to the lawsuit.
Andrew has denied all the allegations against him by Guiffre.
Despite saying in a televised interview last January that he was willing to help investigators, U.S. prosecutors said that Andrew has refused to cooperate in the investigation against Epstein. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the prince had “completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation” in the Epstein case.
Following the interview, Andrew stepped down from his public duties and has largely avoided public appearances. In a statement announcing his withdrawal from public duties, he said he regretted his "ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein."