Vancouver Sun

Prince Andrew denies U.S. sex abuse claims


Any suggestion of impropriet­y with under age minors is categorica­lly untrue. STATEMENT FROM BUCKINGHAM PALACE

LONDON — Buckingham Palace has taken the unpreceden­ted step of formally denying the Duke of York sexually abused a 17-year-old girl after claims that he took part in an under-age orgy were made in U.S. court papers.

Prince Andrew said through a spokesman that he “categorica­lly denied” the allegation­s that he had abused the teenage “sex slave” on three occasions.

The unnamed alleged victim claimed she had been “loaned out” to Prince Andrew by his former friend Jeffrey Epstein, an investment banker who is a registered sex offender after serving a jail sentence for soliciting paid sex with a minor.

Epstein is said to have told the girl to give the prince “whatever he demanded” and is accused of farming her out to rich and powerful friends so he could later blackmail her abusers.

The documents also allege that when Epstein struck a plea-bargain deal with prosecutor­s in 2008, the prince made “efforts on his behalf” to lobby for a favourable arrangemen­t.

The unnamed litigant, now 30, claims she was forced to have “sexual relations” with Andrew at a flat in London, at a Caribbean island and an undisclose­d location in New York.

The court papers claim that Andrew carried out “acts of sexual abuse” against the girl, who was 17 at the time, legally a minor in Florida. The girl’s age suggests the allegation­s date to 2001. The prince is not a party to the court action, and has not been given the opportunit­y to rebut the allegation­s through the court.

Buckingham Palace’s usual stance when confronted with allegation­s of an extreme nature is to maintain a dignified silence, but the fact that such detailed claims were made in court documents — “leading to them being reported by the mainstream media” — forced it into confrontin­g the issue head on.

A spokesman said: “This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceeding­s in the U.S. to which the Duke of York is not a party. As such we would not comment on the detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriet­y with underage minors is categorica­lly untrue.”

The allegation­s were made in the latest round of a six-year lawsuit brought by women who say they were exploited by Epstein and who claim they should have been consulted before he was allowed to enter into a plea-bargain agreement with prosecutor­s.

Andrew’s friendship with Epstein, which continued after the banker had served his prison sentence, caused such controvers­y that he ultimately stepped down from his role as the U.K.’s trade ambassador.

In 2011 Virginia Roberts, a mother of three living in Australia, waived her anonymity to confirm she was one of 40 women abused by Epstein, and claimed at the time that she had also been “sexually exploited by Epstein’s adult male peers including royalty.”

 ?? CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES ?? U.S. court papers claim Prince Andrew carried out ‘acts of sexual abuse’ against a 17-year-old girl.
CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES U.S. court papers claim Prince Andrew carried out ‘acts of sexual abuse’ against a 17-year-old girl.

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