Los Angeles – Prince Andrew brazenly “groped girls” while staying at the so-called “Paedo Island” home of his friend, convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a top prosecutor has claimed.
Denise George, Attorney General of the US Virgin Islands, where Andrew was a frequent visitor to Epstein’s private island Little St James, alleged the Duke of York never sought to shield his activity from the disgraced financier’s staff.
Ms George, who is taking legal action against Epstein’s £500 million estate to prevent his lawyers from “hiding” his assets, told Vanity Fair magazine: “An employee told me that he saw Prince Andrew on a balcony out at Little St James groping girls right out in the open. He said he remembered walking up to him and saying, “Good morning, your Highness.”’
The claims cast further doubt on the Prince’s judgment in remaining friends with Epstein even after the billionaire admitted procuring an underage girl for prostitution in a controversial 2007 plea deal.
An American woman, Virginia Roberts, has accused Epstein of ‘forcing’ her to have sex with Andrew on three occasions, the first in London in 2001 when she was 17 and the following year in New York and during an orgy at the financier’s island home.
Prince Andrew has vehemently denied all her claims, with Buckingham Palace saying: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
In court papers, Ms Roberts, 37, who now goes by her married name of Giuffre, said of her alleged island encounter with the Prince: “Epstein, Andy, approximately eight other girls and I had sex together. The other girls all seemed and appeared to be under the age of 18 and didn’t really speak English. Epstein laughed about the fact they couldn’t really communicate, saying they are the easiest girls to get along with.”
During his now infamous Newsnight interview last November, Andrew denied ever meeting Ms Roberts despite being photographed with his arm around her waist. Epstein took his life in jail last summer just weeks after New York prosecutors announced he would face multiple child sex charges.
In the interview with Vanity Fair on Friday, Ms George said former employees of Epstein should be released from non-disclosure agreements they had signed with him. She claims lawyers acting for his estate have said they will only compensate his victims if they agree not to sue anyone else associate with his crimes.
“These are victims who have been raped by other people. They’re trying to protect their friends and it’s not fair to the victims,’ she said.”
Prosecutors in the US have vowed to continue the investigation into Epstein’s alleged “co-conspirators” including Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and his purported “madam”. Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is leading the American case, has accused Andrew of failing to co-operate with the FBI. He disputes that claim.
Ms George’s comments come at the end of yet another bruising week for Andrew, who will celebrate his 60th birthday on Wednesday. Last Thursday, another of his billionaire friends, Canadian fashion tycoon Peter Nygard, 78, was charged with raping and sexually assaulting 12 women, some as young as 14, at his Bahamas home.
While there is no suggestion that Andrew knew of Nygard’s alleged crimes, he was photographed at his home in 2000 during a holiday with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Sunday night.