An alleged victim of the late Jeffrey Epstein began legal action against Prince Andrew on Monday, taking allegations she has repeatedly publicly lodged against him, including he sexually assaulted her when she was 17, to a formal venue.
The legal action comes almost two years to the day Epstein died in jail.
AP reports lawyers for Virginia Giuffre filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, where Epstein was charged criminally with sex trafficking a month before died age 66 in August 2019 in an adjacent federal jail where he was awaiting trial.
Giuffre has repeatedly made her allegations against Epstein, his onetime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and Andrew, but the lawsuit was the first time she has directly confronted Andrew in such a formal setting.
It increases pressure on the prince, even if he remains in the U.K. and beyond the reach of the courts.
U.S. Prosecutor Says Prince Andrew Has Provided ‘Zero Cooperation’ in Jeffrey Epstein Probe https://t.co/S248bF1XrS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 27, 2020
In a statement, Giuffre said she was “holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me.”
“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,” Giuffre said.
“I did not come to this decision lightly,” she added. “As a mother and a wife, my family comes first — and I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates — but I knew if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”
As Breitbart News reported in late 2019, Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight he never had sex with Giuffre, saying, “It didn’t happen.”
He later announced the Queen had granted him permission to step back from public duties “for the foreseeable future” due to his “former association with Jeffrey Epstein.”
Prince Andrew to ‘Step Back’ From Royal Duties For Foreseeable Future Over Epstein Links https://t.co/bcTsP4bb12
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 20, 2019
He said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting his accuser and told an interviewer there are “a number of things that are wrong” about Giuffre’s account, which alleges the encounter occurred in 2001.
“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said.
He suggested a widely-circulated photograph of him with his arm around the waist of then 17-year-old Giuffre, allegedly taken by Epstein in the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001, might have been doctored.
The prince also contended he had an alibi for the date of the alleged encounter, claiming he was home with his daughter, Beatrice.
The latest lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and accuses Andrew of sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“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 lawsuit states.
Reached late Monday, a U.K.-based spokesperson for Prince Andrew said there would be no comment on the suit, according to ABC News.
The Associated Press contributed to this story