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Epstein accuser sues Prince Andrew over rape allegations

Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of deceased billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, sued Prince Andrew on Monday, accusing him of raping her when she was 17 years old. File photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI
Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of deceased billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, sued Prince Andrew on Monday, accusing him of raping her when she was 17 years old. File photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 9 (UPI) -- One of disgraced and deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein's most prominent accusers sued Prince Andrew on Monday, accusing the member of the British royal family of raping and sexually abusing her when she was 17 years old.

The complaint was filed by the lawyers of Virginia Giuffre in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York accusing the Duke of York of committing battery by sexually assaulting their client on at least three separate occasions in the United States and Britain that resulted in severe and lasting emotional distress.

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Giuffre in 2015 accused Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite, Epstein confidant and friend to Prince Andrew, of recruiting her and other underage girls to be sexually abused by the billionaire American, and that the pair offered her to Prince Andrew.

The court document contains a picture of Prince Andrew with his arm around Giuffre's waist at Maxwell's London residence. Giuffre's lawyers said the photo was taken prior to Epstein, Maxwell and Prince Andrew forcing Giuffre "to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will."

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On another occasion at Epstein's New York mansion, Maxwell forced Giuffre and another victim to sit on Prince Andrew's lap as he touched her, the complaint states, adding that during this encounter, "Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff to engage in sex acts against her will."

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The third allegation of sexual abuse occurred on Epstein's private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Little St. James, the document said.

The lawyers said in the document that Giuffre was forced to perform the sexual acts under expressed or implied threats by the trio and that she feared death or physical injury to herself or others and other repercussions due to their wealth and powerful connections.

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"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 law's protection," the lawsuit 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."

Giuffre's lawyers in the lawsuit state the filing was made under the Child Victims Act of New York, which allows adults who were sexually abused as children to seek reparations from their abusers. The law went into effect in August of last year.

The lawsuit was also filed two years after Epstein, 66, hanged himself in New York federal jail where he was being held without bail on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking of girls as young as 14 in the early 2000s.

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