Virginia Giuffre, the woman at the centre of allegations against Prince Andrew, is suing the royal over alleged sexual assault.
Guiffre, who came forward with an interview laying out her accusations against the royal with the BBC in 2019 has now filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in federal court in New York. The Prince has previously vehemently denied the claims.
In the newly filed lawsuit, Virginia accuses Andrew of sexually abusing her at the mansion of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and at the London home of Epstein’s former girlfriend and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell when Virginia was below 18 years of age.
The escalation comes just days before a New York state law expiry, which stipulates alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse may file civil claims that may otherwise be barred by statutes of limitations.
Per the ABC News who spoke to Virginia’s attorney, David Boies, the now 38-year-old wanted to file the lawsuit before she ran out of time: “If she doesn’t do it now, she would be allowing him to escape any accountability for his actions,” the attorney told the publication.
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Virginia said: “I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. 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 continued: “I did not come to this decision lightly. 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.”
The US network ABC reports that a spokesperson in the UK for Prince Andrew told them there would be no comment on the lawsuit.
Virginia previous accused Jeffrey Epstein of flying her to New York when she was 17 to have sex with Prince Andrew. The Prince has denied the claims.
Epstein himself died in 2019 while awaiting trail for child sex trafficking charges.