Prince Andrew ‘appalled’ by Epstein sex abuse allegations

Britain’s Prince Andrew has said he is “appalled” by the sex abuse claims against his former associate Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York released a statement Monday after footage emerged over the weekend which claimed to show the royal inside the convicted pedophile’s New York mansion in 2010 — two years after Epstein first pleaded guilty to sex crimes.

In the footage obtained by The Mail On Sunday, the British paper says Prince Andrew can be seen at the door of the disgraced hedge fund manager’s Manhattan home, waving goodbye to a young woman leaving the property.

Epstein, 66, was found dead in his prison cell earlier this month. He had been awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of sexually abusing underage girls.

CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the video or when it was shot. When CNN contacted Buckingham Palace for comment, officials declined to answer CNN’s specific questions about the video.

The Palace referred CNN to the statement it released Monday, which said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent.”

Buckingham Palace also referred to a statement it issued to CNN last month, which said: “The Duke of York accepts it was unwise to have met Mr. Epstein in December 2010. The Duke has not met with Mr. Epstein since.” The statement was originally issued to CNN in response to a Daily Mail story that alleged Prince Andrew attended a party at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010.

The Mail reports the video it published Sunday was shot on December 6, 2010, around the time the royal was photographed with Epstein in New York’s Central Park.

The images showed that Prince Andrew was still associating with Epstein after his controversial 2008 plea deal amid similar accusations. The non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors allowed the financier to plead guilty to two state prostitution charges. Epstein ultimately served 13 months in prison, registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to the victims identified by the FBI.

Epstein was arrested on new charges in July, and was awaiting trial on counts of trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, when he died on August 10.

Prince Andrew, the Queen’s third child, was named in court papers in Florida this month, in fresh allegations that he groped another young woman at Epstein’s Manhattan property.

Previously, he was named in connection to Epstein when Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed Epstein kept her as a teenage sex slave. She alleged Epstein forced her to perform sex acts with a number of prominent men, including the Duke of York in 2001.

Buckingham Palace has repeatedly denied the allegations, telling CNN previously that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”

CNN’s Sarah Dean and Sebastian Shukla contributed to this report.