Prince Andrew accuser’s charity for victims still not launched

London: The Duke of York’s accuser has not launched her sex trafficking charity despite accepting a $US2 million ($2.8 million) donation from Prince Andrew as part of their out-of-court settlement.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre created a website forSpeak Out,Act,Reclaim (Soar) in November 2021,at the height of her bitter civil case with Prince Andrew over claims that he had raped and sexually abused her when she was 17.

Virginia Giuffre (centre) leaves a New York Federal Court in 2019.

Virginia Giuffre (centre) leaves a New York Federal Court in 2019.Bloomberg

It replaced her former charity,Victims Refuse Silence,which was founded in 2015 but was wound down four years later. At the time,Giuffre hailed the launch of her organisation and promised there would be “more information soon” on how to get involved.

When the civil case with Andrew was settled out of court in February of last year,the two sides issued a joint statement in which the Duke pledged to “demonstrate his regret” for his association with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein,“by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking,and by supporting its victims”.

This was done in the form of a hefty financial donation,understood to be in the region of $US2 million,which was destined for Soar.

However,almost one year on,it is unclear what has happened to the money and how it has been used.

Britain’s Prince Andrew.

Britain’s Prince Andrew.PA

Andrew’s camp is understood to have been given no updates or information about the charity.

Soar is not thought to be officially registered as a non-profit organisation with the Internal Revenue Service,the US government department with which charities file their annual accounts and are granted tax-exempt status.

Its website says it was incorporated as Victims Refuse Silence in 2015 but there have been no official filings by that organisation since 2019.

Soar’s website states that is “dedicated to providing a safe and empowering space for survivors of sex trafficking to reclaim their stories and stand up for themselves and each other”.

In her first television interview from prison,Ghislaine Maxwell says the infamous photo of Prince Andrew with his arm around Virginia Roberts Giuffre is a fake.

It adds that although it officially launched in November 2021,“at this early stage,we are not yet accepting donations”.

A spokesman declined to comment,although one source insisted that there would be activity “soon”.

Giuffre retreated from the public eye when her case with Andrew was settled and is thought not to have been in the best of health.

As part of the deal,both sides signed a one-year gagging clause that prevented them from speaking publicly about the case in any form. However,that part of the deal is due to expire next month,raising the prospect that she might return to the public eye.

The 39-year-old mother of three has spent the past year with her Australian husband and children at their home in Perth but is believed to have signed a multimillion-dollar deal to write her memoir,in which she is expected to detail the years of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein and others. It may prove bad timing for Andrew,62,as he considers a return to public duties and is seeking to clear his name.

The Prince is understood to be consulting lawyers after Giuffredropped a separate sexual abuse claim against the US lawyer Alan Dershowitz,admitting that she “may have made a mistake” in claiming that he had abused her as a teenager.

Having always pleaded his innocence,Prince Andrew is thought to be examining ways in which he could begin a fresh legal action that might restore his reputation.

Giuffre has not commented on the development but one source close to her suggested it was nothing more than an “act of desperation” by the Duke in his campaign to rehabilitate himself.

Ghislaine Maxwell,the shamed British socialite who is serving 20 years in a Florida jail for sex trafficking,last week leapt to his defence in a filmed interview from her prison cell.

Her brother,Ian Maxwell,has also sought to defend him,releasing a photograph that he claimed cast doubt on Giuffre’s claims.

The image shows the bath in which the Duke is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity with Giuffre at Ghislaine’s mews house in Belgravia.

Two of Maxwell’s acquaintances are sitting in the bath,fully clothed,wearing masks that depicted Andrew and Giuffre.

Maxwell told the LondonTelegraph:“I am releasing my photographs now because the truth needs to come out.

“They show conclusively that the bath is too small for any sort of sex frolicking. There is no ‘Victorian bath’,as Giuffre has claimed,which is proved both by the attached plan of the bathroom and the photos themselves.”

The Telegraph,London

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