Officials representing the British royals have denied that Prince Andrew had sex with minors. The denial came after the royal was named in an ongoing US lawsuit against billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Buckingham Palace on Friday issued a statement emphatically denying that Prince Andrew had engaged in impropriety with minors, after he was named in papers filed to a Florida court.
In the documents, a woman claimed that Epstein had forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew - fifth-in-line to the throne - on several occasions between 1999 and 2002. The encounters with the woman - named in the documents as Jane Doe #3 - were alleged to have taken place in London, New York, and a Caribbean island privately owned by Epstein.
"This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the US to which the Duke of York is not a party," a palace spokesman said. "However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue."
The allegations came as part of an civil case that has been brought against the US government by several women who say Epstein abused them. The woman named in latest documents claims she was kept as a "sex slave" by the tycoon. Prince Andrew was not named as a defendant.
"Epstein instructed Jane Doe #3 that she was to give the Prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe #3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse," the Florida court submission stated.
Victims 'not consulted'
The women's case accuses federal prosecutors of reaching a plea-bargain deal with Epstein without consulting them, after Epstein was sentenced to 18 months for a single charge of soliciting prostitution. Such an arrangement infringed the US Crime Victim Rights' Act, the plaintiffs claim.
Epstein was convicted in 2008 and released from prison in 2009.
It's not the first time that Prince Andrew - Queen Elizabeth II's second son - has come under scrutiny over his links with Epstein. In 2011, the 54-year-old royal was forced to stand down as Britain's Special Representative for International Trade over his links with the Wall Street financier.
rc/bk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)