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Prince Andrew settles sex abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre

CBS News 2/15/2022 Zoe Christen Jones

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who accused the royal of sexual abuse, have reached an out-of-court settlement. According to court documents filed Tuesday, Andrew will donate funds to Giuffre's charity in support of victims of sexual assault. The amount of the settlement and donation was not disclosed.

Giuffre accused Prince Andrew of assaulting her on three separate occasions when she was 17, which Prince Andrew has denied.

In a lawsuit filed in New York in 2021, Giuffre said the assault was made possible by the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She alleges Epstein trafficked her to Prince Andrew. 

Prince Andrew claims to have no recollection of meeting Giuffre. The two, however, were photographed together when Giuffre was a teenager. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend who was recently convicted of grooming and trafficking minors for sexual abuse, also appears in the photo.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Ghislaine Maxwell standing in a room: Britain's Prince Andrew is seen in a file photo with Virginia Giuffre (center) and Ghislaine Maxwell. / Credit: Rex Features © Provided by CBS News Britain's Prince Andrew is seen in a file photo with Virginia Giuffre (center) and Ghislaine Maxwell. / Credit: Rex Features

A court filing Tuesday said, "Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre's character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks."

"Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others," the document continues. "He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims."


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Attorneys for Prince Andrew did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment. 

Melania Trump, Prince Andrew, Gwendolyn Beck and Jeffrey Epstein at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. / Credit: Getty Images © Provided by CBS News Melania Trump, Prince Andrew, Gwendolyn Beck and Jeffrey Epstein at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. / Credit: Getty Images

In January, Prince Andrew was stripped of all his royal patronages and military affiliations with the approval of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, a day after his motion to dismiss Giuffre's suit was rejected in court.

"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told CBS News at the time.

The second son of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew still retains the title Duke of York and his place in the line of succession, but is no longer allowed to use the title "His Royal Highness" in any official capacity. 

CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman has said the prince's best option was to try to reach a settlement with Giuffre so the case wouldn't go to trial. The process of fighting the case in court would shine a negative light on his family.

Although Giuffre said she was assaulted in 2001 and 2002, which was beyond statute of limitations, Giuffre was able to file the suit under New York's 2019 Child Victims Act, which allowed survivors to file claims regardless of the time that had gone by. 

In 2020, Giuffre told CBS News that Andrew "should be panicking," and that the royal family" needs to be held accountable." Giuffre's lawyer said in January that he believed she would only be interested in an out-of-court settlement if Prince Andrew acknowledged he had done something wrong. 

"Twenty years ago Prince Andrew's wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her," the lawsuit read. "It is long past the time for him to be held to account."   

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