Prince Andrew Acknowledges Being Served With New York Sexual Assault Lawsuit
The royal had previously declined to acknowledge receiving the lawsuit.
Prince Andrew has officially acknowledged through his lawyer that he has been served with a sexual assault lawsuit filed by an American woman who claims he repeatedly abused her when she was a teen.
The Duke of York's previous refusals to accept the suit had delayed its progress. But a joint agreement signed by an attorney for Prince Andrew and approved by a New York federal judge became part of the public record on Tuesday.
He had challenged accepting the lawsuit until a phone conference between attorneys was held on Sept. 21, according to the court documents. An agreement was signed three days later, said an order signed by Judge Lewis Kaplan.
The royal has steadfastly denied the allegations of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, a longtime accuser of the late Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender and former friend of the prince. Epstein died by suicide in a New York detention center while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in 2019.
Giuffre alleges the 61-year-old royal raped and assaulted her while being sex-trafficked to him by Epstein at age 17.
In a statement she released in August, when the suit was filed, Giuffre said the suit was brought under the Child Victims Act to claim she was trafficked and sexually abused.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she said. “The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim one’s life by speaking out and demanding justice," she said.
“I did not come to this decision lightly,” she added. “As a mother and a wife, my family comes first — and I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates — but I knew if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”
She alleges the abuse occurred in 2001. She began making the allegations in 2015.
Andrew, in a 2019 interview with the BBC, said, "I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," he said of the allegations. He stepped down from his royal duties following that interview and is rarely seen at public events.
He also said he had "no recollection" of meeting Giuffre and there were "a number of things that are wrong" with her claims.
An attorney for Andrew has called the allegations "baseless."
The prince is required to respond to the lawsuit by Oct. 29, under the agreement terms.
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