Prince Andrew is sued by Jeffrey Epstein accuser over alleged sexual abuse

Virginia Giuffre (left) accused Prince Andrew of having abused her about two decades ago, when she was under 18 years old. PHOTOS: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Britain's Prince Andrew was sued on Monday (Aug 10) for having allegedly on three occasions sexually abused a woman who has claimed she was trafficked for sex by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In a civil complaint filed in the US District Court in Manhattan, Virginia Giuffre accused Andrew of having abused her about two decades ago, when she was under 18 years old.

According to the complaint, Ms Giuffre said Andrew forced her to have sexual intercourse against her will at the London home of Mr Epstein's longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

Spokespeople for the prince could not immediately be reached for comment outside business hours.

Andrew told the BBC in November 2019 he had no recollection of meeting Ms Giuffre, and could not have had sex with her at Ms Maxwell's home because he had returned that night to his house after a children's party.

The complaint said Andrew also abused Ms Giuffre at Mr Epstein's mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and on a private island that Mr Epstein owned in the US Virgin Islands.

Ms Giuffre has said Mr Epstein kept her as a "sex slave" with help from Ms Maxwell, telling BBC's "Panorama" that Epstein brought her to London to meet Andrew.

Her complaint, signed by her lawyer David Boies, accused Andrew of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Ms Giuffre sued Andrew under the Child Victims Act, a New York state law.

"I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me," Ms Giuffre said in a statement. "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."

Lawyers for Ms Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Ms Maxwell is not a defendant in the lawsuit.

Mr Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan jail on Aug. 10, 2019, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

A fund to compensate victims of Mr Epstein's sexual abuses has completed the payout process, giving more than US$121 million (S$164 million) to about 138 people, the fund's administrator said on Monday.

Ms Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to engaging in sex trafficking and grooming underage girls for Mr Epstein to abuse.

Her trial in Manhattan could begin in November.

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