Duke of York defended by Huddersfield v-c

The University of Huddersfield vice-chancellor Bob Cryan has defended the Duke of York, its patron, in the face of “ridiculous” sex allegations

January 9, 2015

Source: Titanic Belfast

Prince Andrew has been named in US court papers by a woman who claims she was forced to have sex with him when under age. Buckingham Palace has “emphatically denied” the allegations.

The claims were made in court papers as part of a case against the US government over a plea bargain it struck with Jeffrey Epstein, a former friend of Prince Andrew. Mr Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

Professor Cryan, the Huddersfield vice-chancellor, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, having written a letter to The Times after the newspaper argued in a leader column that Prince Andrew had “tried and failed” to find a role.

“One of the things we teach our students is to speak out when you see something’s wrong,” said Professor Cryan.

Today presenter Mishal Husain asked about suggestions in the Times leader that Prince Andrew lacked a role. Professor Cryan answered: “That’s not the individual I see.”

He argued that “based on the work he’s done up here in Huddersfield”, Prince Andrew has “pushed the apprenticeship agenda” and had also “visited a primary school to encourage pupils to develop their coding skills”.

Professor Cryan continued that “the Duke plays a very important role”, focused on “education, skills, entrepreneurship and science and engineering”.

Asked by Ms Husain whether he would like to see Prince Andrew “speak out himself in his own defence” after Buckingham Palace issued denials of the underage sex claims, Professor Cryan answered: “What more can you say when there’s an absolute emphatic denial of all these ridiculous allegations.”

Ms Husain also asked whether there were questions about Prince Andrew’s choice of friends, given that Mr Epstein had “served time in prison for soliciting a minor for prostitution”.

“I think what I’d say is we all make mistakes,” Professor Cryan answered. “The Duke actually acknowledged in 2011 that that friendship was actually a mistake and he apologised for it.”

john.morgan@tesglobal.com

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