Prince Andrew rejects US ‘teen sex’ claim

Duke of York  Prince Andrew. Picture: Getty

Duke of York Prince Andrew. Picture: Getty

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A WOMAN has said she was forced as a teenager to have sex with Prince Andrew, in court documents relating to the ­behaviour of a convicted paedophile.

Last night Buckingham Palace issued a strenuous denial of the allegations, which were made in US legal papers that are part of a lawsuit concerning the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The unnamed woman claims in a ­motion filed in Florida that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York when she was 17 – which is below the age of consent in the state. She claims that between 1999 and 2002, she “was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor” in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein. The accusation is part of a lawsuit over how federal prosecutors handled the case of Epstein, who in 2008 was sentenced to 18 months in prison for soliciting a minor for prostitution following an FBI investigation.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “This relates to long-­standing and ongoing civil ­proceedings in the United States, 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 under-age ­minors is categorically untrue.”

The allegations follow controversy about the prince’s association with Epstein. He was photographed with Epstein in New York in 2001, two years after the American’s release from prison.

In June 2011, Prince Andrew stepped down from his role as the UK’s roving business ambassador following scrutiny over his relationships with Epstein and other controversial figures.

Yesterday, the Guardian newspaper reported that the woman making the claims against Prince Andrew was allegedly turned into a “sex slave” by Epstein.

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He is accused of repeatedly abusing her on his private jet and at luxury homes in New York, New Mexico, Florida and the US Virgin Islands.

The court document alleges: “Epstein also sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe [a name used in US legal proceedings to preserve anonymity], making her available for sex to politically connected and financially powerful people.

“Epstein’s purposes in ‘lending’ Jane Doe (along with other young girls) to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information.”

It goes on: “For instance, one such powerful individual Epstein forced Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with was a member of the British royal family, Prince Andrew (aka Duke of York).”

Another associate of Epstein, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, has also dismissed claims made by the woman. Prof Dershowitz is accused in the court motion of having sexual relations with the woman when she was under-age and of witnessing the abuse of other minors. He said the accusations were “totally false and made up”.

The academic and criminal defence lawyer had in the past advised Epstein on how to respond to the FBI’s investigation.

“There is no more strenuous denial than the one I am giving. I never met her. I don’t know her. I have never had sex with an under-age person,” Prof Dershowitz said.

“It is a totally fabricated charge in every possible way,” he added. “It just never happened.” He said he was considering taking legal action to have Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell, the lawyers who filed the motion, disbarred for “knowingly filing … a false, malicious and defamatory statement in a lawsuit”.

Mr Edwards said: “We have been informed of Mr Dershowitz’s threats of legal action and bar proceedings … we carefully investigate all of the allegations in our pleadings before presenting them.”

In a statement through her lawyers, the woman behind the allegations said she was being “unjustly victimised again”.

She said: “These types of ­aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time.

“That trend should change. I’m not going to be bullied back into silence.”

After the bad publicity caused by Prince Andrew’s association with Epstein, it was reported in 2011 the prince had broken off contact with the businessman.

The duke had previously been accused of meeting Epstein’s young victims and possibly being aware of their sexual exploitation. However, yesterday was the first time he has been named in a court document as a participant in any sexual activity with one of the young women allegedly trafficked by Epstein.

As the claim has only just been lodged, and as the duke is not directly a named party to it, he has not had the opportunity to formally file a defence or ­denial to the allegation.

Epstein was jailed following a FBI investigation which began in 2006, examining claims he had been paying for sex with under-age girls at his Palm Beach ­mansion for years. Eventually, federal prosecutors said they had identified 40 young women who may have been illegally procured by Epstein.

However, in 2008, the ­inquiry was dropped after Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a relatively minor state charge relating to soliciting paid sex with a 14-year-old girl. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence and is now a registered sex offender.

Many of Epstein’s alleged victims have since reached out-of-court settlements with the investment banker.

However, two of Epstein’s alleged victims, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, have brought a lawsuit arguing that federal prosecutors violated a victims’ rights statute by failing to consult them over Epstein’s deal.

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