A sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew filed by one of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking victims in the United States has prompted London's Metropolitan Police department to review its own case files about the British royal.
In her recent civil filing in a New York federal court, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, claimed that Andrew, one of Queen Elizabeth II's four children, sexually assaulted and battered her when she was 17 years old. Andrew, 61, has not responded to the lawsuit. He has said he has no recollection of ever meeting the accuser, who spoke to the press about her alleged past encounters with the prince and Epstein after the late financier died in prison in 2019 at age 66 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In comments made to British radio station LBC on Thursday, Aug. 12, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said that no investigation against Andrew has been opened. However, she said, "I'm aware that currently, there is a lot more commentary in the media and an apparent civil court case going on in America and we will, of course, again, review our position."
When asked if the Met Police are reviewing its case about Andrew, she said, "Absolutely. It's been reviewed twice before. We've worked closely with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). We are, of course, open to working with authorities from overseas. We will give them every assistance, if they want, if they ask us for anything, within the law, obviously. As a result of what's going on, I've asked my team to have another look at the material. No one is above the law."
Virginia filed her lawsuit against Andrew on Monday, Aug. 9 and said in a statement to E! News, "As the suit lays out in detail, I was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him. I am 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."
The accuser had told the BBC in a 2019 interview that beginning at age 17, she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions, saying they met at a nightclub in 2001. In her lawsuit, she alleged that the encounters took place on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein, in his New York City mansion and in the London home of his associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently in jail awaiting trial over her own sex trafficking charges, to which she has pleaded not guilty, and has not commented on the accusations.
"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," the complaint states. "During each of the aforementioned incidents, [Giuffre] was compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Prince Andrew and feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority."
In 2019, the prince told the BBC in his own interview, "I can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened," adding, "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever." He also said he continues to "unequivocally regret my ill-judged association" with Epstein.
Soon after the interview, Andrew stepped down from royal duties and several companies and charities distanced themselves from him.
"It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support," Andrew said in a statement at the time. "Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."
Buckingham Palace has maintained the prince's innocence. "It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts," a palace spokesperson said in a statement to multiple outlets after Andrew's 2019 interview. "Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation." The palace has also stated that any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors by the duke was "categorically untrue."