A US woman who alleges she was brought to the UK aged 17 to have sex with the Duke of York has filed a civil lawsuit in New York claiming he abused her.
Virginia Giuffre, who was an accuser of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, claims she was sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew in London and New York.
Prince Andrew has consistently denied Ms. Giuffre’s claims.
Ms. Giuffre’s lawsuit cites New York’s Child Victims Act, which expanded victims’ rights to sue alleged abusers.
Speaking about Ms. Giuffre’s allegations in 2019, Prince Andrew said they “never happened”.
“It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” he told BBC Newsnight.
In a later statement, Prince Andrew said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
The new legal complaint alleges that the duke and his representatives have rejected requests to provide “whatever facts, context or explanation he might have, and to explore alternative dispute resolution approaches”.
The BBC has contacted Buckingham Palace and the Duke of York’s representatives for comment.
The lawsuit alleges the duke sexually abused Ms. Giuffre – then known as Virginia Roberts – at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.
Ms. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that she conspired with Epstein in the abuse of four underage girls. She is due to stand trial in November.
New York State’s Child Victims Act was described by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last year as a landmark “pathway to justice” for people who allege they were abused when under-age and was intended to help “right wrongs that went unacknowledged and unpunished”.
It was passed in 2019 and initially allowed cases to be filed for allegations that were time-barred or expired, during a one-year period. It was further extended to 14 August this year due to the Covid pandemic.