A woman who said she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew as a child while under the control of financier Jeffrey Epstein is now suing the Duke of York in federal court.
In a complaint filed Monday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Virginia Giuffre claimed that the prince had sexually abused her on separate occasions in London, New York, and at Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands between 2000 and 2002, when she was under the age of 18.
"I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me," Giuffre said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News.
She added that she expected her decision to sue the British royal "will subject [her] to further attacks." But, she said, "I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting [my family] and victims everywhere down.”
The complaint alleges that Andrew knew she was a victim of sex trafficking and that she was underage. It includes the infamous photograph of a 17-year-old Giuffre and the duke with his arm around her waist.
Buckingham Palace referred BuzzFeed News to Andrew's personal spokesperson, who declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, has previously denied ever having sex with Giuffre. He has also said that he had no idea Epstein was trafficking and abusing girls despite flying on his private jet and being one of his highest-profile friends who stayed at his homes and private island.
Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan federal detention center in August 2019 while facing charges of trafficking dozens of underage girls for sex.
Giuffre first publicly accused Andrew of sexually abusing her in 2015 and has sworn to her story in a court deposition. She has also said that before having sex with the prince in a London home, they had dinner and went to a nightclub, where she recalled Andrew sweating on the dance floor.
In a November 2019 interview with the BBC, Andrew defended himself by saying that at that time he was not able to sweat because of a "peculiar" medical condition. In a statement that month, he also said he would help law enforcement with their Epstein inquiry. Last year, prosecutors said he had provided "zero" cooperation.
According to the complaint, Giuffre was "compelled by express or implied threats" by Epstein, his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew to have sex with the duke and "feared death or physical injury" if she disobeyed. In 2002, after Epstein sent her to Thailand, she fled to Australia.
Giuffre's attorneys have reached out to Andrew and his representatives as recently as last month to find an alternative resolution outside of court, but those inquiries have been rejected, according to the complaint.
"In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection," the complaint states. "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."
Ellie Hall contributed reporting for this story.