The woman who claims she was trafficked to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew has said “others must be held accountable” following the conviction of predatory socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Virginia Roberts, who has brought a civil sex case against Andrew and features in an infamous picture with the British duke and his friend Maxwell, has “faith” others will face justice.
Maxwell, 60, who was labelled “dangerous” by the prosecution, faces the rest of her life in jail for helping to entice vulnerable teenagers to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s various properties for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.
Attention will now focus on the damages action launched by Ms Roberts, also known as Virginia Giuffre, who is suing Queen Elizabeth’s son for alleged sexual assault.
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein, the duke’s former friend, to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law. Andrew has denied all the allegations.
Following Maxwell’s conviction on Wednesday, Ms Roberts said she had “lived with the horrors of Maxwell’s abuse” and commended the four women who testified during the trial.
She added: “I hope that today is not the end but rather another step in justice being served. Maxwell did not act alone. Others must be held accountable. I have faith that they will be.”
Maxwell’s New York trial heard how she summoned a 14-year-old girl to an orgy, groped another victim and laid a schoolgirl outfit out for a third accuser before a sexualised massage with her former boyfriend Epstein because she “thought it would be fun”.
The court in the Southern District of New York heard Maxwell imposed a “culture of silence … by design” at Epstein’s properties, where staff were told to “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing”.
While the “horrific abuse” was going on, the jury was told how the defendant lived a “life of luxury” – with the prosecution describing the trafficking as a “means to support her lifestyle”.
Maxwell will appeal against her conviction for luring young girls for Epstein to molest, her brother Kevin has said.
Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represents 20 accusers of Epstein, said it was now a matter of having to “wait and see” if the civil sexual assault case in the US against the duke ever gets to trial.
She told BBC Breakfast that “to prove a criminal case, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt” but “only a preponderance of evidence must be shown in order for there to be the possibility of the defendant being held liable” in a civil case.
She added: “I anticipate many legal arguments on behalf of Prince Andrew, having to do with jurisdiction, the power of the court and other such issues – so we will have to wait and see if his case ever gets to trial or not.”