Buckingham Palace has moved quickly to officially deny “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors” by Prince Andrew after he was named in US court papers alleging he abused a 17-year-old girl.
A motion was filed in a Florida court by a woman who claims that multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein ‘loaned’ her and her friends to rich and powerful men throughout the world while they were underage. Prince Andrew is named as one of the men to whom they were sent, with the litigant claiming she was abused by him on three occasions.
She says she was forced to have sexual relations with the prince at a flat in London, at an undisclosed location in New York and in “an orgy with numerous other under-aged girls” on a private Caribbean island.
Prince Andrew is not a party to the court action has not yet had the opportunity to deny the allegations through the court, although the BBC reports that a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said this afternoon: “This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the US to which the Duke of York is not a party.
“As such we would not comment on the detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
The allegations come in the latest round of six-year lawsuit by women who say they were victims of Epstein and his associates and who claim that US federal authorities breached their rights by not consulting them before agreeing a plea bargaining deal with Epstein.
As part of the deal, the FBI investigation into allegations against Epstein was dropped after he pleaded guilty to a less serious offence of soliciting paid sex with a minor. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence. Many alleged victims have reached out-of-court settlements, although two have decided to sue federal authorities for arranging the deal.
The two women, named only as Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4, also claim that Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, “procured” them for sex with Epstein, an allegation she has always strenuously denied.
The document states: “Epstein sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe, making her available for sex to politically-connected and financially powerful people.
“Epstein’s purposes in ‘lending’ Jane Doe (along with other young girls) to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political and financial gain, as well as to obtain blackmail information…
“One such powerful individual Epstein forced Jane Doe 3 to have sexual relations with was a member of the British Royal Family, Prince Andrew (a/k/a Duke of York).
“Jane Doe 3 was forced to have sexual relations with this Prince when she was a minor in three separate geographical locations: in London (at Ghislaine Maxwell’s apartment), in New York, and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands (in an orgy with numerous other under-aged girls).
“Epstein instructed Jane Doe 3 that she was to give the Prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe 3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse.
“Maxwell facilitated Prince Andrew’s acts of sexual abuse by acting as a ‘madame’ for Epstein, thereby assisting in internationally trafficking Jane Doe 3 (and numerous other young girls) for sexual purposes.”
Another associate of Epstein, Alan Dershowitz, told the Guardian that the accusations against himself were “totally false and made up.”
Mr Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor who advised Epstein on how to respond to the FBI’s investigation, said: “There is no more strenuous denial than the one I am giving. I never met her. I don’t know her. I have never had sex with an underage person.”
Prince Andrew has previously been accused of meeting Epstein’s victims, and possibly even being aware of their sexual exploitation, but has never before been accused of taking part in the abuse himself. In 2011, the Daily Mail reported on the story of Virginia Roberts, who said she met the prince three times while working for Epstein, however she did not say that he had abused her.