US & Canada

New Jeffrey Epstein accuser calls on Prince Andrew to talk

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJane Doe 15: "Epstein wielded great villainous power"

A woman has come forward to accuse the disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing her as a 15 year old, and urged Prince Andrew to share information on his former friend.

The accuser, identified as "Jane Doe 15", told reporters she had suffered a "vicious, prolonged sexual assault".

She is the latest of more than a dozen women to sue Epstein's estate for alleged sexual abuses.

It comes amid controversy over Prince Andrew's ties to the sex offender.

In an interview with the BBC aired on Saturday, Prince Andrew was pressed on his friendship with Epstein, and an accusation made by Virginia Giuffre that he had sex with her at Epstein's house when Ms Giuffre was 17.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPrince Andrew on Epstein: 'There was no indication, absolutely no indication'

Prince Andrew denied having sex with Ms Giuffre, but the interview created a wave of criticism directed at the royal. Accountancy firm KPMG on Monday announced it would not renew its sponsorship of the prince's entrepreneurship initiative, Pitch@Palace.

What are the new allegations?

Jane Doe 15, now 31, gave a press conference in Los Angeles on Monday with her lawyer, Gloria Allred. She accused Epstein of abusing her at his New Mexico ranch when she was 15, after she had met his secretary during a 2004 school trip to New York.

According to her lawsuit, the secretary told her Epstein was interested in helping girls from poorer backgrounds. She was flown on his private jet to his ranch in New Mexico with several other young girls, she said. She alleges he told her to give him a massage, then sexually assaulted her.

"Epstein took my sexual innocence," she said during the press conference.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A picture from the lawsuit showing "Jane Doe 15" as a teenager

Epstein, 66, hanged himself in jail in August while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. He had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14. He was already a convicted sex offender, having been jailed in Florida in 2008 for procuring a minor for prostitution.

Jane Doe 15 did not accuse Prince Andrew of any wrongdoing but called on him to come forward with more information. "Prince Andrew, and any others who were close to Epstein, should come forward and give a statement under oath on what information they have," she said.

According to her lawyer, she called on Prince Andrew to "voluntarily meet with the FBI and prosecutors who are investigating this criminal case in New York, and also to provide his deposition under oath".

What else is going on?

While Epstein's death ended the federal government's prosecution of him, the criminal investigation that led to the charges is ongoing.

The FBI and federal prosecutors continue to investigate the crimes, including a conspiracy charge, which could implicate Epstein associates.

French prosecutors have also opened an inquiry into rape allegations against Epstein, who had an apartment in Paris.

Meanwhile, lawsuits against the Epstein estate continue to arise, with Jane Doe 15's being the latest.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAccuser Maria Farmer describes surveillance in Jeffery Epstein's home

In other suits against the estate:

  • Jennifer Araoz alleges she was sexually abused by Epstein when she was 14 and 15, including a forcible rape. Her lawsuit also names long-time Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell and three other female staff members
  • Annie Farmer says she was 16 when Epstein groped, harassed and pressed his genitals against her. Her sister, Maria Farmer, says she was 20 when Epstein sexually abused her
  • Juliette Bryant says Epstein forcibly raped her multiple times when she was 20
  • Teresa Helm says she was 22 when she visited Epstein's home for an interview to be a travelling masseuse and he sexually assaulted her

Some accusers have remained anonymous, while others have come forward but have not filed lawsuits.

Many of the women's accounts allege they were recruited to give massages to Epstein, with the massages leading to sexual abuse. Many also include promises made by Epstein to help them with things like college tuition, medical expenses or advancing their careers.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jennifer Araoz says Epstein raped her in 2002 when she was 15

More on this story