LONDON — A U.S. woman who has said she was trafficked by the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to Prince Andrew implored the British people to “stand up beside” her, according to a BBC Panorama interview broadcast Monday.
“This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys’ royalty,” the woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, told the network.
Roberts Giuffre, who says she was 17 when she was trafficked by Epstein, has alleged that she met with Andrew on three separate occasions. The legal age of consent in the United Kingdom is 16.
In an interview with the BBC on Nov. 15, which was filmed after BBC Panorama filmed its interview with Roberts Giuffre, Andrew — who has repeatedly denied these allegations — said he did not recall ever meeting her.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” Andrew said in the BBC Newsnight interview.
He also said he had “absolutely no memory” of posing with her for a picture, in which an Epstein associate, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was in the background.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Roberts Giuffre’s allegations against Andrew came to light in court filings as part of a lawsuit involving Epstein. In 2015, a judge ruled they be struck from the record but did not rule on their veracity.
Following the widely criticized interview, Andrew announced that he was stepping away from public duties because of the controversy surrounding his past friendship with Epstein. He has said that he is “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
In Roberts Giuffre’s first interview with the BBC, she said how, as a troubled teenager who'd been abused for years, Maxwell recruited her while she was working as a locker room attendant at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Maxwell had offered her an education in massage therapy, Roberts Giuffre alleged, but she was soon flying around the world in Epstein's private jet.
“I was passed around like a platter,” she said. “I might have been meeting the most famous people in the world,” she added. “It didn’t matter. These were bad people who were hurting me.”
One of those people was Andrew, Queens Elizabeth II's son, Roberts Giuffre claimed. Speaking to the BBC, she rehashed the details of an alleged night out in London with him, echoing comments she made in an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that aired in September.
A lawyer for Maxwell, who has not been charged with any crimes, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At the time of Roberts Giuffre's interview with NBC in September, Buckingham Palace issued a statement that "emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation."
In the BBC interview, Giuffre said she went to a club with Andrew, where they danced, and he gave her alcohol.
“We went into the VIP section. There was no waiting in the lines obviously — you were with a prince,” she said, according to the released remarks.
“He is the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, like his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere. I was just like grossed out from it but I knew I had to keep him happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would have expected from me,” she said, according to the BBC press release.
Roberts Giuffre claimed that she was trafficked to Andrew two other times — once at Epstein’s townhouse in New York City, and again at his Caribbean island, Little St. James.
“I implore the people in the U.K. to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK,” she said.
Andrew has denied these allegations.
Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a federal prison cell in New York City in August after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. He faced up to 45 years in prison on allegations that he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women at his homes in New York and Florida from 2002 to 2005. He had pleaded not guilty.