London’s Metropolitan Police said they were not conducting any new investigations into Prince Andrew after a 2016 deposition accusing him of groping a woman’s breast. The deposition was among related to Jeffrey Epstein unsealed this week under the in a now-settled defamation case brought by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims.
What the documents say
In the deposition, Johanna Sjoberg alleges she was groped by Prince Andrew in 2001, when she was 21. The allegation is not new, and BBC News reports Buckingham Palace previously called her allegations “categorically untrue.”
Sjoberg says she met Andrew when she was brought to Epstein’s home in New York in 2001 by Ghislaine Maxwell. Virginia Giuffre, whosewas settled out of court in 2022, was also at the house at the time.
Sjoberg said she initially didn’t know who the British royal was, until Maxwell took her to get a caricature puppet of him from a BBC show. Then, she said, she sat on Andrew’s lap, while Giuffre sat beside him on the couch with the puppet in her own lap. The group took a photo with the Prince Andrew puppet groping Giuffre’s breast, and Andrew himself groping Sjoberg’s.
In an excerpted transcript from a deposition of Maxwell released among the documents unsealed this week, she seemingly confirmed the existence of the puppet — which she called “Not a puppet. I don’t know how you would describe it. A caricature of Prince Andrew that was in Jeffrey’s home.” When asked about the incident Sjoberg described, she said, “I don’t recollect. I recollect the puppet but I don’t recollect anything around the puppet,” before saying again it was a “characterization of Andrew.”
Reaction in the U.K.
“We are aware of the release of court documents in relation to Jeffrey Epstein,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “As with any matter, should new and relevant information be brought to our attention we will assess it. No investigation has been launched.”
Virginia Giuffre accused Prince Andrew of sexually assaulting her on three separate occasions when she was 17, which were among the information included in the documents released this week. Prince Andrew denied the allegations and claimed to have no recollection of meeting Giuffre, though the two were photographed together when Giuffre was a teenager.
Graham Smith, CEO of the British anti-monarchy group Republic, said in a statement that he had reported Prince Andrew to police.
“To date there appears to have been no serious criminal investigation, no interview of the accused or other witnesses and no clear justification for taking no action,” Smith said, calling on authorities to look into the allegations against Prince Andrew.
“Given the seriousness of the incidents, the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, Andrew’s payment of an estimated £12m to Guiffre and the related accusations from other victims it seems there must be grounds for a full criminal investigation into these events and those involved,” he said.