Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Prince Andrew Sex Abuse Lawsuit Dismissed in Part

The Prince Andrew sexual abuse scandal continues with the latest ruling coming out of a federal court in Miami, FL.  Two women were seeking to re-open a non-prosecution agreement reached in a plea deal with wealthy financier, Jeffery Epstein.  Mr. Epstein is accused of orchestrating sexual affairs with Prince Andrew and others in various places around the U.S. including a Palm Beach mansion, a Caribbean Island and a sprawling ranch in New Mexico.  Mr. Epstein previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was sentenced to 13 months in jail.

The two alleged victims were seeking to join a civil lawsuit currently pending involving several other women all of whom claim to have been sexually assaulted and abused at the hands of Prince Andrew and other high profile persons.  The request was denied by the Judge.

My guess is that the two additional potential plaintiffs in this case were attempting to re-open the criminal prosecution as a means to extend the civil statute of limitations or to trigger jurisdiction to join the civil lawsuit.  It is very common in sexual assault claims to have both criminal and civil proceedings that are either proceeding simultaneously or concurrently.  While there is interplay between the two types of proceedings, the discretion to either prosecute or not and the outcome of the criminal proceedings is not within the jurisdiction of the civil justice system.  This is why the civil courts are sometimes the only forum in which a victim of sexual assault or abuse can seek justice by way of a request for monetary compensation.