Prince Andrew Sex Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge

March 15, 2022
Prince Andrew Sex Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge

Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Prince Andrew Dismissed After Settlement is Reached

The sex abuse lawsuit filed against Britain's Prince Andrew by sex abuse survivor and activist, Virginia Giuffre, has been dismissed by a U.S. Judge. The dismissal of the lawsuit filed on the 21st of August in 2021 comes several weeks after both parties agreed to reach an out-of-court settlement on February 15.  The dismissal of the lawsuit by U.S District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan came on Tuesday, March 8th upon the request of lawyers representing both sides of the lawsuit. This prompt settlement and dismissal of such a prominent lawsuit comes after the judge had given those involved in the lawsuit until March seventeenth to reach an agreement otherwise a trial date would be set. A further consequence of this resolution to the lawsuit is the inability of the lawsuit to be refiled. 

The Settlement Between Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre

The exact value of the settlement has not been revealed but a statement from Giuffre's lawyer David Boies specified that “Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre's charity in support of victims' rights”.  In addition to the substantial donation to Virginia Giuffre's charity supporting sexual abuse survivors known as Speak Out, Act, Reclaim (SOAR), Prince Andrew made a statement in support of Giuffre's character which reads-  "It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years. Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others. 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."

The Settlement of the Lawsuit Against Prince Andrew in Context

This statement comes in stark contrast to the negative picture the Prince's legal team painted of Giuffre earlier on. In response to Giuffre's sexual abuse claims, the Prince vehemently denied the accusations placed upon him and his defense counterclaimed that Giuffre was attempting to profit from the allegations of sexual abuse she claimed to have suffered at the expense of Prince Andrew. It should be noted that this timely settlement prevented the wheels of the lawsuit from rolling far enough so that the evidence-gathering process of the discovery phase would not begin. Had this started, depositions would have required Prince Andrew to begin answering a number of potentially compromising questions posed by lawyers while under oath.  The investigation would no doubt have drawn in other members of the royal family and the level of scrutiny placed on every detail of the case would have left no stone unturned. Suffice to say if there was anything that would have compromised Prince Andrew, let alone the royal family, it would have been found during the gathering of evidence in the discovery phase. 

The Lawsuit Between Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew

Virginia Giuffre filed a New York civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew, Duke of York on August 9, 2021, accusing him of sexually abusing her several times in the early 2000s after she had been trafficked by the financier and sexual offender, Jeffrey Epstein when she was 16-17 years old.  Despite the alleged sexual abuse's occurrence over a decade in the past, the lawsuit was able to be filed under the New York Child Victim's Act. This act gives sex abuse survivors that experienced abuse at young ages the opportunity to file lawsuits even in cases where the statute of limitations has been passed. 

Virginia Giuffre's Sexual Abuse Claims Against Prince Andrew

Virginia Giuffre claimed that at the age of 17 she was trafficked on at least three different occasions in 2001 to Prince Andrew by Jeffrey Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Her claim states that Epstein and Maxwell took her to Tramp nightclub in London where she met and danced with the Prince.  Afterward, she was taken to Maxwell's residence in Belgravia, London where she was instructed by her to engage in sex with Prince Andrew for which she was paid a sum of $15,000 by Epstein. She claims she was sexually abused again by Prince Andrew in New York at Jeffrey Epstein's mansion and again at Epstein's private island of Little Saint James at an orgy where Epstein and Prince Andrew sexually abused her and several other girls who were underage. 

The Unfolding of the Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Prince Andrew

Upon the filing of the lawsuit against Prince Andrew in August of 2021, there was a brief period of complication regarding the legal serving of the lawsuit to Prince Andrew.  While Giuffre's lawyers sent the necessary paperwork regarding the litigation to the police in the jurisdiction of Prince Andrew's home of Royal Lodge, Windsor his legal team argued that the documents were not legally served. The High Court of England and Wales intervened and agreed to, if necessary, serve the documents relating to the suit on Andrew.  Furthermore, the judge presiding over the case ruled that the legal documents to be served to Prince Andrew may be served to him via his lawyers based out of Los Angeles after Giuffre's legal team accused Prince Andrew of attempting to actively avoid the serving of the necessary documents relating to the sex abuse lawsuit against him. 

Response by Prince Andrew's Legal Team to the Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

The initial defense against the lawsuit Giuffre filed revolved around an attempt to have Giuffre's case dismissed by the judge on the basis that the defendant, Prince Andrew, could not be held liable because of a sealed settlement from another civil lawsuit Giuffre filed against Epstein in 2009 known at the time as Jane Doe No. 102 vs. Jeffrey Epstein.  They claimed that this settlement contained language that would absolve Prince Andrew of any liability regarding Giuffre's lawsuit.  The lawyers representing Prince Andrew then attempted to keep the aforementioned settlement sealed by petitioning a judge. This request was rejected on the grounds that no parties involved had shown good cause for the case to remain sealed and confidential mostly due to the fact that Epstein had died in his jail cell in 2019 and no longer had an opinion on the matter.

The Unsealing of the 2009 Settlement 

This settlement was unsealed and published in January of 2022 when it was revealed that Giuffre received $500,000 “and other valuable consideration” that's exact value is not specified in exchange for the cessation of Giuffre's attempts to sue Epstein. The 2009 settlement further contained language that stated Giuffre would-  “remise, release, acquit, satisfy and forever discharge the said second parties and any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant … from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts (Virginia Giuffre's maiden name), including state or federal, cause and causes of action" Despite this, Judge Kaplan rejected the request to dismiss the case. The reasoning being that the specific use of the word “potential” in the language of the settlement to describe defendants that would be absolved of liability proved too potentially broad of a term for the precise interpretation necessary to apply to the lawsuit.  In the eyes of the judge, the term “potential defendant” is so expansive as to have an ambiguity that "must be resolved by the trier of fact, ordinarily a trial jury" to quote Judge Kaplan. 

Other Requests of Dismissal of Giuffre's case against Prince Andrew

The legal team in charge of Prince Andrew's defense also sought dismissal of the case on the grounds that Virginia Giuffre was a resident of Australia and not the United States. In response, Giuffre's lawyers indicated that she was a resident of Colorado due to the fact that she is registered to vote there. This request was also denied by the presiding judge.  Prince Andrew's lawyers also attempted to have the case thrown out on the grounds that Giuffre was 17 at the time of the alleged abuse which was the age of consent at the time in the state of New York and that the consent involved on her part would be highly subjective. Once again this request for dismissal of the case was denied.

Civil Legal Action Vs Criminal Prosecution

Unlike the extensive criminal investigation and prosecution related to the Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficking operation, the lawsuit between Giuffre and Prince Andrew was a civil legal action filed with the intent to collect on damages resulting from emotional distress caused by Prince Andrew's alleged sexual abuse. 

Burden of Proof

Unlike a criminal case, the burden of proof with a civil lawsuit such as this is much lower and does not need to be beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the standard is a preponderance of evidence where the plaintiff simply needs to have evidence that the claims against the defendant are slightly more true than not in order to be successful.  This tends to give civil litigation a much higher chance of success than criminal prosecution.

Criminal Investigation of Prince Andrew

The settlement of this civil lawsuit does not exempt Prince Andrew from any criminal prosecution that may potentially arise from an investigation into the Epstein sex-trafficking operation.  The Prince publicly stated that he would be ready to assist “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigation if required,”.  However, it has been indicated by figures such as Geoffrey S. Berman, then the U.S. attorney in Manhattan overseeing the American investigation into Epstein's international sex trafficking operation, that Prince Andrew has provided no cooperation with authoritiesAuthorities in the U.K. have since dropped their criminal investigation of Prince Andrew. So far, the U.S. Attorney's office has declined to comment on whether or not Prince Andrew is under investigation by them.

Consequences of the Lawsuit Against Prince Andrew

As a result of the controversy surrounding the allegations of sexual abuse against Prince Andrew, the royal has since been stripped of all honorary military titles and roles in representing the royal family via several charities known as patronages. Andrew is no longer to use the title “His Royal Highness” and is not to undertake any public duties.  Public opinion of Andrew has plummeted as a result of a photograph from 2001 being circulated in 2011 of him, Ghislaine Maxwell, and the then 17-year-old Giuffre together at Maxwell's home in London where his arm is visibly wrapped around the girl's waist.  The disgraced royal found further injury to his public image after an interview with the BBC he gave regarding the Epstein controversy backfired resulting in immense public backlash.  

The Payment of The Settlement with Giuffre

The finances required to settle this lawsuit against the disgraced royal also have proven to be a controversial detail. Both sides have been made responsible for bearing their respective costs and legal fees.  The exact amount of money to be provided to Giuffre via the settlement has not been kept confidential although it is estimated to be significant and easily worth millions of dollars. The funding of this settlement is expected to come directly from Andrew himself via the selling of a ski chalet in his ownership and a £2 million donation to Giuffre's charity given by the Queen herself

Other Litigation Related to Virginia Giuffre vs. Prince Andrew

This lawsuit is among one of the more prominent examples of litigation following the controversy surrounding disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and his facilitation of and participation in sexual abuse via an international sex-trafficking ring.  Virginia Giuffre has also filed civil suits against Ghislaine Maxwell, and Alan Dershowitz due to their alleged roles in her time being sexually abused. Giuffre sued Maxwell for defamation in Federal Court in September of 2015. The case was settled under seal by June 2017. In April of 2019, Giuffre filed a defamation lawsuit against Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz who she claimed sexually abused her as a result of her trafficking in Epstein's ring. This lawsuit after a number of countersuits and complications is still ongoing at the time of this article's publishing.  Giuffre is only one of several alleged survivors of sexual abuse that have filed lawsuits against Epstein and the various figures connected to his sex trafficking of minors. Most have remained anonymous in their litigation in order to preserve their privacy and safety. 

The Virginia Giuffre vs. Prince Andrew Lawsuit's Connection to the Epstein Sex Trafficking Controversy

This lawsuit is but one facet of the complicated investigation and reckoning following the discovery of Jeffrey Epstein's activities involving the trafficking, grooming, and sexual abuse of primarily underage girls. 

Who is Jeffrey Epstein?

What is known for sure is that Jeffrey Edward Epstein was an American financier that worked for several companies in the banking and finance sector despite not having an actual degree. Before this, he worked as a teacher at the Dalton School despite no real qualifications where he allegedly displayed inappropriate behavior towards students until he was dismissed due to “poor performance”.  Through connections he made while teaching, Epstein found employment in the finance world where he worked for a number of wealthy businesses and managed the wealth of some of the most affluent people on the planet while amassing an immense amount of wealth himself.  Through this, he developed a network of contacts with incredibly wealthy and powerful people that would also come under scrutiny following an investigation into reports of his sexual abuse of minors. 

The Investigation of Epstein's Sexual Abuse

It would not be until 2005 that light would begin to shine on the illegal activities Epstein was perpetrating and facilitating. In March 2005 a woman contacted the Palm Beach police alleging that her 14-year-old-stepdaughter had been sexually assaulted by Epstein when she was taken to his house by an older girl and was paid by him $300 to strip and massage him. This prompted an investigation of Epstein that discovered that he was sexually abusing a large number of underage girls resulting in his arrest in July 2006 by Palm Beach police on state felony charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and solicitation of a prostitute. Epstein ultimately was charged with a single count of felony solicitation of prostitution to which he pleaded non-guilty due to the convening of a Grand Jury by state prosecutor Barry Krischer. 

The Controversial Epstein Plea Deal

Eventually, a plea deal was negotiated with the assistance of Alan Dershowitz who worked as part of Epstein's legal team. Epstein would have to register as a sex offender, plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges, serve 18 months in prison, and pay restitution to three dozen victims of sexual abuse he perpetrated identified by the FBI. Furthermore, the plea deal was later found to have violated the rights of Epstein's victims since it was concealed from their knowledge. To say that this deal was a gross failure of justice considering the extent and nature of Epstein's crimes would be an understatement.

Epstein's Arrest for Sex Trafficking and His Subsequent Death

Epstein would serve his time under what has been widely considered controversially preferential conditions. For example, his cell door was left unlocked and he essentially had free reign to do as he pleased to the point that he could leave the premises for hours unsupervised and even take trips on his private jet out of the state.  On July 6, 2019, Epstein would once again be arrested at Teterboro Airport by the FBI on sex trafficking charges following an in-depth investigation into his operation.  Unfortunately, before the entirety of justice could be served and the complete truth brought to light, Epstein died in his jail cell on August 10, 2019, in what has been officially ruled as a suicide. However, many reservations exist regarding the validity of this. His criminal charges were then dismissed due to his death. 

Epstein's Sex Trafficking Operation

The true extent of Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking network and all of those involved in the sexual abuse of minors he procured and groomed still is not fully known. However, it is believed that its international span goes across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Epstein regularly traveled internationally using a private Boeing 727 jet nicknamed the “Lolita Express” by locals of the Virgin Islands where Epstein's private island, Little Saint James, was located and where a great deal of abuse is believed to have occurred in addition to Epstein's properties in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.  

Ghislaine Maxwell's Connection to Epstein

Epstein's close companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been convicted of sexually abusing minors and assisting in Epstein's sex trafficking of children. Her major role as Epstein's right hand in his illicit activities has not only put her on a similar level of infamy and criminal culpability but also made her the focus of many civil suits filed by survivors as well. 

Prince Andrew's Connections to Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein and his close associate Ghislaine Maxwell have been closely connected to Prince Andrew for some time. The earliest record of the two's acquaintance is in 1999 when Prince Andrew traveled with Epstein on his infamous private jet known to Epstein's similarly infamous private island, Little Saint James.  The two had a well-known friendship that led to Prince Andrew staying in many of Epstein's properties and spending a significant amount of time on trips and at parties with the now-deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the now-convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell. 

Other Figures Connected to Jeffrey Epstein

A large number of figures belonging to the upper echelons of finance, celebrity, and politics have been connected to Epstein through their traveling on his private jet and/or visitation to his properties where sexual abuse and trafficking of minors is believed to have occurred. Prince Andrew is one of the more notable figures that have been identified as being connected to Epstein. Many other notable figures have been shown to have close ties to Epstein and have aroused suspicion regarding their potential knowledge of his illegal activities.  These famous figures include former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Leslie Wexner, Tom Barrack, Jean-Luc Brunel, Marvin Minsky, Woody Allen, Lawrence Krauss, Glenn and Eva Dubin, George Mitchell, Steven Pinker, Roger Schank, and Harvey Weinstein.

Civil Lawsuits Following Epstein's Initial Conviction

After the criminal prosecution of Epstein and conviction following his 2006 arrest, there have been numerous civil lawsuits filed against Epstein many of the survivors of his sexual abuse. Most of these sexual abuse survivors have anonymously identified as Jane Does in their suits against Epstein in order to maintain their privacy as is their right.  Others, such as Virginia Giuffre, Annie and Maria Farmer, Juliette Bryant, Teresa Helm, Jennifer Araoz, and Sarah Ransome have come forward with their stories and identities in an effort to draw attention to the crimes committed by Epstein. 

Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Filed After Jeffrey Epstein's Death

After Epstein died in his jail cell on August 10, 2019, many of those that were sexually abused by him had to face the frustration of seeing his criminal prosecution end. Knowing that Epstein did not live to face the consequences of his crimes against them is disheartening but there are other options to seek justice. Many have still been able to seek justice by filing civil lawsuits against his estate which is valued in the hundreds of millions. Even after his death, there is still an opportunity for those affected by Epstein's child sex trafficking to seek restitution.  This financial compensation for damages inflicted by sexual abuse will not change what happened or heal the wounds inflicted by such crimes. However, filing a civil lawsuit like this can add your voice to the many others that have been affected and secure restitution from Epstein's financial legacy that would be better served in the hands of those he harmed. 

Continuing Criminal Investigation After Epstein's Death

Even After Jeffrey Epstein's death, Ghislaine Maxwell's conviction, and this latest development in the lawsuit against Prince Andrew, the investigation into Epstein and his child sex trafficking ring will continue.  Prosecutors are convinced that a continued investigation will dredge up more information on the other conspirators in Epstein's sex trafficking operation. Even outside the United States, French prosecutors are in the midst of investigating the extent of Epstein's trafficking that took place in France.  With time this may turn up more information on figures that have aided and participated in trafficking and sexual abuse of minors. This not only can bring them to justice in a criminal investigation but benefit civil lawsuits against those that harmed minors. 

Filing a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit 

Suffering sexual abuse at any age is a painful and traumatic experience with consequences reaching far into the future and adulthood. Mental, as well as physical health, can be affected and your everyday life can be complicated by the resulting emotional damages.  You may have the option to take civil legal action to hold those that harmed you responsible by seeking restitution for damages much like Virginia Giuffre has been able to do with Prince Andrew. 

Who Can Be Sued for Sexual Abuse?

While Jeffrey Epstein and other sexual offenders can be directly targeted with a civil lawsuit, there are many other parties that may also potentially have liability for your ordeal as well.  Individual sex offenders may not always have the means to provide restitution in a civil lawsuit but institutions such as the Catholic Church that is experiencing its fair share of controversy revolving around sexual abuse of children can be considered liable for the actions of their members. Other institutions that have been settings where sexual abuse has been perpetrated include schools, youth sports, and even the Boy Scouts of America. There are also many cases where a business or property owner can be considered liable in a sexual abuse lawsuit. Some businesses can contribute to sexual abuse occurring by failing to take reasonable action and preventative measures when they have knowledge that there is a risk present. This commonly applies to businesses like hotels and resorts that are often the settings where human trafficking occurs the most. Talking to a sexual abuse lawyer can help you determine who exactly may be liable for the damages you suffered. 

Contact Dolman Law For Help With Your Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Undertaking civil legal action against individuals with power such as Prince Andrew can be a daunting prospect but this latest news proves that it can be undertaken successfully. Reluctance to try to and hold sexual abusers accountable with a sexual abuse lawsuit is understandable. However, with the help of an experienced sexual abuse attorney, you can face those that harmed you through litigation and make sure that they face consequences.  Dolman Law Group can empathize with how sensitive these situations can be. We have the resources and ability to ensure that you and your case are taken care of. Our firm has assisted many not just in Florida but nationwide with their litigation against past sexual abusers and can provide award-winning legal representation on your behalf so that you can get the closure and restitution that you deserve.  If you or a loved one have suffered due to sexual abuse then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about potentially filing a child sexual abuse lawsuit. We offer free consultations to those seeking legal assistance with taking legal action against sex offenders and other parties that may be liable for the abuse they perpetrated.  To contact Dolman Law Group you can either call our office at (727) 451-6900 or fill out a contact form online.  

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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