Prince Andrew arrives in Balmoral hours after sex abuse lawsuit

Duke arrives at Balmoral Castle day after being accused of sexually assaulting Jeffrey Epstein victim

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 12 August 2021 06:54
<p>Prince Andrew has been spotted arriving at Balmoral Castle after being accused of sexually abusing a Jeffrey Epstein victim</p>

Prince Andrew has been spotted arriving at Balmoral Castle after being accused of sexually abusing a Jeffrey Epstein victim

Prince Andrew arrived in Balmoral to face the Queen less than 24 hours after being accused of sexually abusing a Jeffrey Epstein victim.

The Duke of York was seen arriving at the royal Scottish retreat of Balmoral Castle on Tuesday evening and was thought to have been accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.

According to the MailOnline, the Queen’s son was spotted driving a Range Rover into the monarch’s private estate at about 6pm before his dog arrived in a separate car an hour later, suggesting he could be planning to stay for some time.

It came less than a day after news broke Virginia Giuffre was suing the 61-year-old royal for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

Ms Giuffre, now 38, claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

Andrew has vehemently denied the allegations and a spokesman for the duke said there was “no comment” when she was asked to respond to Ms Giuffre’s legal action.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies has warned against anyone ignoring the US courts as he claimed the royal’s legal team has “stonewalled” appeals for information.

He told Channel 4 news: “This is now a matter for courts to decide and it would be very ill-advised for anyone to sort of thumb their nose at a federal court.”

Mr Boies said his client “expects to get vindication” from the legal process and “her hope is calling the rich and powerful abusers to account will have some effect on reducing the chance that other young girls will suffer what she suffered”.

Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre has alleged Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager

Andrew stepped back from public duties after the backlash from his “car crash” 2019 Newsnight interview, which had attempted to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein – but instead saw him heavily criticised for showing little empathy with the sex offender’s victims.

Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit seeking unspecified damages at a federal court in New York, where the court documents claim she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein, including while she was still a minor under US law.

Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state’s Child Victims Act, although Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

It is alleged in the documents Ms Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts, was sexually abused while aged under 18 by the Queen’s second son at Maxwell’s home in London, at Epstein’s New York mansion and at other locations including Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

British socialite Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court, where she faces trial in November, while Epstein took his own life in a US federal jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on the same charges.

The documents claim Ms 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”.

The duke allegedly engaged in the sexual acts without Ms Giuffre’s consent, while aware of her age and while “knowing that she was a sex-trafficking victim”, the documents claim, adding the alleged assaults “have caused, and continue to cause her, significant emotional and psychological distress and harm”.

Mr Boies told Channel 4 News: “The evidence in terms of what he (Andrew) knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation is something that obviously will be for the jury to decide.

US financier Jeffrey Epstein took his own life in jail in August 2019 after being arrested on sex-trafficking charges

“I think that everybody who was closely associated with Jeffrey Epstein knew that he had these young girls, these young women who he was trafficking.”

Solicitor advocate Nick Goldstone, head of dispute resolution at international law firm Ince, said he did not think Prince Andrew would be compelled to attend court in New York to give evidence in his defence.

“I don’t think he will be compelled to put in any defence in writing because he can maintain his right to silence,” he added.

“And under the American terminology, ‘take the fifth’ - the Fifth Amendment - everybody has a right to silence for fear of self-incrimination.”

If the duke and his legal team do not engage in the civil proceedings, they are expected to continue without their input, with the court making its judgment in due course.

Andrew does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing as this only applies to criminal charges and not civil cases.

In his Newsnight interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, Andrew denied claims he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions, saying: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

The duke also said he has no memory of a well-known photograph of him with his arm around Ms Giuffre’s waist at Maxwell’s house, and has questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.

Additional reporting by Press Association