It was not until the weekend that the Duke of York declared that in the past he had never witnessed any sexual offenses committed by his friend Jeffrey Epstein. Now, a suspected victim of both men has spoken again.
Virginia Giuffre had already declared in 2011, Epstein abused her as a sex slave and forced as a minor to sex with Prince Andrew. Now she repeated her allegations on the sidelines of a court hearing in New York. The Duke of York "knows exactly what he did, and I hope he speaks out," she said.
She was recruited at a very young age in Mar-a-Lago, a property acquired by Donald Trump in 1985. "I was held in a world I did not understand, I still fight this world today, and I'll never stop it."
British newspapers such as the Daily Mail had published a photograph of Prince Andrew with the then 17-year-old Giuffre. She had stated that Epstein forced her sex with the Royal three times between 1999 and 2001.
Prince Andrew and 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre 2001 in London
The Duke has always vehemently rejected the allegations. In 2015, a court found that Giuffres's allegations against Prince Andrew were "insignificant and unabashed" and should therefore not be included in the charges against Epstein.
Numerous alleged Epstein victims were summoned to the Manhattan hearing. Attorney Brad Edwards represents several of them. He said at the subsequent press conference: "Personally, I have repeatedly invited Prince Andrew to speak, we are always ready - and we have a lot of questions for him."
"Can not understand or explain Mr. Epstein's way of life"
The Duke of York has commented this weekend on his "connection or friendship" with the late suspected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
He met the US financier in 1999 and then saw him only irregularly and at most once or twice a year, according to Prince Andrew. "In the limited time I spent with him, I never witnessed a behavior that ultimately led to his arrest and conviction," the prince explained. He had never entertained a suspicion.
In his statement, Prince Andrew Epstein's victims expressed his sympathy. "It's a difficult time for all concerned, and I can not understand or explain Mr. Epstein's lifestyle with the best will."
Toby Melville / REUTERS
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
In front of the Federal Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday said 16 women, seven other women were represented by lawyers. "Today we stand together," said the actress Anouska De Georgiou, who was allegedly sexually abused by Epstein. "I will no longer be a victim and not keep silent for a day longer."
Chauntae Davies said in court that she had to vomit for two weeks in a hospital after being raped by Epstein. The investment millionaire had "morbidly" abused young women. Another woman said she was Epstein's "slave". "I felt powerless and ashamed." Epstein threatened to kill her if she was no longer a virgin.
Epstein is said to have sexually abused underage girls for years and instigated prostitution. The investment banker had already been sentenced to 13 months in prison for prostitution of young women in 2008 and has since been treated as a sex offender.
After another arrest, the 66-year-old was found dead in his New York prison cell on 10 August. According to the US Department of Justice, he took his own life. In a conviction, the US multimillionaire, who had good contacts with numerous politicians and celebrities, threatened up to 45 years in prison.
Epstein did not act alone
At Tuesday's court hearing, Judge Richard Berman wanted to give the alleged victims of abuse a chance to talk about their suffering, because there will never be a trial of Epstein. He praised the "courage" of the women, many of whom had never spoken publicly before.
Lawyer Boies and Virginia Giuffre in front of the Manhattan courthouse
The women called on the judiciary to prosecute possible accomplices. "Please finish what you started," said Sarah Ransome. "He did not act alone." Instead, Epstein has led an international ring of women traders.
In the case, among other allegations against the British Prince Andrew and against Epstein's former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell have become loud. Both have denied the allegations.
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