Prince Andrew is facing sexual abuse allegations nearly two years after his name surfaced during an investigation into the criminal dealings of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in court papers filed on Monday with New York's federal court that the royal sexually abused her when she was a minor. She cited an incident at Epstein's Manhattan mansion and others that happened elsewhere when she was under the age of 18.
The 61-year-old embattled Prince Andrew has since denied any allegations of sexual contact with the victim. He also denied any knowledge of Epstein's wrongdoings. But Giuffre is adamant and she wants him persecuted for his actions.
Giuffre sued the Duke of York under New York State's Child Victims Act, which was introduced in 2019 to allow old abuse cases to be filed. The act, which expires on Aug. 14, gives all victims a one-off chance to make a case, regardless of how historic the accusations are.
"If she doesn't do it now, she would be allowing him to escape any accountability for his actions," her lawyer Davide Boies told ABC News.
"And Virginia is committed to trying to avoid situations where rich and powerful people escape any accountability for their actions," he added.
In her lawsuit, Giuffre is accusing Prince Andrew not just of sexual assault but also of "intentional infliction of emotional distress." She is also seeking an unspecified amount of compensation and punitive damages over the allegations.
"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," states the lawsuit.
The 38-year-old alleged victim, who now lives in Australia, said in a statement that she "did not come to this decision lightly" and that as a mother and a wife, her "family comes first." She also knows that her action will subject her to "further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates." But she also knows that if she did not pursue legal action, then she "would be letting them and victims everywhere down."
Giuffre said that she is "holding Prince Andrew accountable" for what he did to her. She reasoned that "the powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions." She also shared her "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." A spokesperson for the royal refused to comment on the accusations when reached on Monday.