Prince Andrew must face lawsuit claiming sex abuse

In a legal setback for Britain’s Prince Andrew, a Manhattan judge rejected the prince’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl roughly two decades ago.

In a decision made public on Wednesday, the judge said that Virginia Giuffre could pursue her civil suit against Andrew, in which she claims he battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress while she was allegedly being trafficked for sexual purposes by late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The judge said it was premature to assess Andrew's efforts to "cast doubt" on her claims, though the 61-year-old prince could do so at a trial.

In 2009, Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000, without admitting liability, to end a separate lawsuit charging him of sexually abusing her while underage.

The judge in Andrew’s case said it was too soon to decide whether that settlement with Epstein "clearly and unambiguously" shielded Andrew from also being sued by Giuffre.

The judge did not address the merits of Giuffre's claims.

Lawyers for Andrew and Giuffre did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth, has denied Giuffre's accusations that he forced her to have sex more than two decades ago at a London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and abused her at two Epstein properties.

Maxwell was convicted on Dec. 29th of recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to abuse between 1994 and 2004.

While the claims against Andrew have not been proven and the prince is not accused of criminal wrongdoing, his ties to Epstein have damaged his reputation and cost him many royal duties.

The judge’s decision to keep Giuffre's case against Andrew on track means that a trial could begin in the fall if no settlement is reached beforehand.

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