Those who suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein can now start to file financial claims through a compensation fund.
Alleged victims waited months, while negotiations between their counsel and that of the executors of Epstein's estate took place. A probate judge in the US Virgin Islands approved the Epstein Victims' Compensation Program in early June, but on Thursday victims were officially able to start filing claims. The fund is estimated to hold $630 million.
Attorneys for Epstein's estate executors first filed a request that November to pursue a victim compensation fund to avoid litigation. The victims who choose to be a part of the program voluntarily and are provided compensation will sign a release agreeing not to pursue any further legal action against Epstein's estate.
However, the fund does not prevent authorities from criminally charging people who may have aided Epstein in his abuse, meaning that his known partner Ghislaine Maxwell could still face prosecution.
“This program provides victims of Jeffrey Epstein the opportunity to be heard outside the glare of public courtroom proceedings, and to receive an acknowledgment by an independent third party as to the legitimacy of their experience and the long-term suffering it has wrought,” Jordana Feldman, cofounder of the fund, said in a press release.
Feldman helped arrange the fund, and she oversaw a similar fund to compensate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
At the time of his death, the multi-millionaire faced trial for sex-trafficking charges. Prosecutors alleged Epstein paid underage girls, some as young as 14, hundreds of dollars in cash for massages before sexually assaulting them at his homes in Palm Beach, Fla. and New York, from 2002 through 2005.
He also allegedly transported girls on his private jet to his private island in the US Virgin Islands where he made them sex workers. High profile celebrities and politicians were accused of visiting the island including former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.
Epstein pleaded not guilty last July to federal charges filed against him about his sexual involvement with underage girls at his New York and Palm Beach homes. He died Aug. 10 2019 at age 66, after allegedly hanging himself in his Manhattan jail cell.
“My staff is deeply sensitive to the unique circumstances involved and is committed to processing the victims’ claims in a prompt, fair, and effective manner,” said Feldman.