Monday, February 6, 2023

Who Is Virginia Giuffre? The Woman Suing Prince Andrew For Sexual Abuse

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Earlier this week, Virginia Giuffre once again made headlines and has filed a federal lawsuit against Prince Andrew.

Accusing the British Duke of York of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the lawsuit comes after years of accusations against Prince Andrew for abusing her at Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and at other locations in 2001 – when she was under the age of 18 and legally a minor.

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The documents, filed on Monday in a New York court, claim 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.”

Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied ever having sex with Giuffre, but her claims against him have marked her as one of the most prominent advocates of justice for sex trafficking victims – in particular, the victims of the trafficking ring that was operated by convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein and his close friend Ghislaine Maxwell.

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Virginia Roberts holds a photo of herself at age 16, when she says Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her sexually.

Giuffre first met Maxwell in 2000 at the age of 17, when working as a spa assistant in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club where Giuffre’s father worked as a maintenance manager. After being approached by Maxwell and asked if she was interested in massaging, Giuffre was offered a job as a masseuse to Epstein. According to Giuffre’s claims, Epstein and Maxwell then began grooming her – under the guise that she was training to be a professional massage therapist.

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After travelling with Epstein and providing him and his friends with massages and sexual services, Giuffre was allegedly trafficked to Prince Andrew in 2001. The Duke reportedly had sex with Giuffre (then known by her maiden name, Virginia Roberts) on three occasions; a trip to London in 2001 when she was 17 for which she was paid $15,000, and later in New York and on Little Saint James, a small private island in the US Virgin Islands. Whilst flight logs evidence the fact that they were both in those places and a photo of the Duke, Giuffre and Maxwell is now infamous, Prince Andrew insists the claims aren’t true. Most famously, in his 2019 BBC Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, he claimed it was impossible for him to have had sex in London as he was attending a party in a Pizza Express in Woking.

Soon after, Giuffre began living a quiet family life in Australia after meeting Robert Giuffre, an Australian martial arts trainer, while at a massage school in Thailand in 2002. She then cut off all contact with Epstein and Maxwell – until the first police investigation into Epstein began in 2007, when both Epstein and Maxwell called Giuffre to ask whether she had been the one to blow the whistle.

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Despite filing several lawsuits under ‘Jane Doe’, the first public allegation against Epstein from Giuffre came in 2011, ten years since her alleged grooming by Prince Andrew. The first allegations against the Prince then came in a 2015 court filing, with Buckingham Palace vehemently saying “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue” on their official statement. Following the explosive 2019 Newsnight interview, it was announced in May 2020 that the Duke would resign from all public roles over his ties to Epstein.

Since then, Giuffre has continued in her work in fighting sex trafficking and in seeking justice for survivors of Epstein’s trafficking ring. She has appeared in several documentaries and interviews, including a BBC Panorama special in 2019 and a four-part Netflix series in 2020.

Speaking at Epstein’s hearing in 2019, nineteen days after he was found dead in his cell and all charges were subsequently dismissed, Giuffre implored prosecutors and the public to continue in their investigations, stating “the reckoning must not end. It must continue. He did not act alone. We the victims know that.”

Prince Andrew, Duke of Yor, and Virginia Roberts. She holds a photo of herself at age 16, when she says Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her sexually.

Photo Credit: Getty

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