A fund has been set up to compensate victims of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, enabling dozens of women attacked by the financier when they were as young as 14 to seek a cut of his $914.5 million estate.
- The fund’s administrator said many women were reluctant to tap the fund until they learned of its privacy features
- She said Mr Epstein’s estate appeared to have “sufficient liquidity to pay the claims” even though more than 70 women may apply
- Women willing to forgo the spate of lawsuits have nine months to file claims with the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program
A Virgin Islands judge approved the fund this month, facilitating payouts to women abused by Mr Epstein.
The billionaire was last year charged by New York federal prosecutors with sex trafficking of women and girls in the early 2000s.
He had long ago been convicted of other charges in a Florida state court.
Jordana H Feldman, the fund’s administrator, said many women were reluctant to tap the fund until they learned of its privacy features.
She said Mr Epstein’s estate appeared to have “sufficient liquidity to pay the claims” even though well over 70 women may apply.
“If we need to get more money, I will certainly go to the estate and see what can be done about liquidating other assets,” she said.
After Mr Epstein killed himself in August in a New York jail, more than a dozen lawsuits against his estate emerged from women and teenage girls who suffered sexual abuse, sometimes for years, from Mr Epstein and his enablers at homes in Manhattan, the Virgin Islands, Paris, New Mexico and Florida.
Epstein conspiracy theories
The mysterious Jeffrey Epstein’s life and crimes, and the lack of punishment thereof, had already been the subject of intense debate, but his death has prompted a slew of conspiracies.
Women willing to forgo the spate of lawsuits have nine months to file claims with the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program.
Even claims barred by various statutes of limitations would be considered, court records showed.
The fund’s administrator will evaluate each claim separately to determine how much money each woman receives.
“We have confidence that the program will be the most successful of its kind,” said Brad Edwards, an attorney for numerous victims of Mr Epstein’s victims.
“Of course, if any victim is not satisfied with the program, she is free to pursue her remedy though litigation.”
Mr Epstein’s former girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was described in a 2017 lawsuit as the “highest-ranking employee” of the alleged sex-trafficking enterprise.
It said she developed plans to recruit victims and helped conceal the activity from law enforcement.
In sworn statements, she has denied wrongdoing.
This week, lawyers for one of Mr Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, argued in court papers that a transcript of a seven-hour deposition of Ms Maxwell and other documents from a since-settled lawsuit should be made public.
Ms Maxwell’s lawyers have told a Manhattan judge that portions of her deposition should remain sealed because lawyers tried to force her “to answer intrusive questions about her sex life”.
The scandal involving Mr Epstein has involved many high-profile people, including Queen Elizabeth II’s son Prince Andrew.
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