By Zachary Stieber
A fund set up to pay people who said they were victimized by convicted sex offender and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein paid out nearly $125 million to 150 claimants, an administrator said Monday.
Jordana Feldman, the administrator, announced the completion of the payout process.
Approximately 92 percent of eligible alleged victims accepted compensation offers.
A total of 225 people submitted claims. Some were rejected.
“This important, independent program allowed victims/survivors who were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein to resolve their claims outside of court through a voluntary, confidential, fair, empathetic, and expeditious process—beyond the glare of public proceedings and without the costs and confrontation of litigation. Every claimant had an opportunity to be heard in a safe space, to share the intimate, personal, often harrowing accounts of what they endured and how it has affected them,” Feldman said in a statement.
“I was continually struck by the resilience and courage of the victims who put their faith and trust in this process,” she added.
The voluntary program was set up by experts, including Feldman, last year. They took input from attorneys representing over 70 alleged victims, as well as Epstein’s estate, and Denise George, attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The deadline to file new allegations for the fund was set for Feb. 8, while all claims had to be filed by March 25.
Alleged victims were told that participation in the program was voluntary. They would be offered a payout if their claim was deemed legitimate. They could decline and waive rights to file litigation against Epstein’s estate, or decline and be free to take the estate to court.
George is investigating whether co-executors of the estate helped Epstein skirt immigration laws by arranging forced marriages, an allegation the co-executors dispute.
Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of soliciting a minor for prostitution in a plea deal that saw him avoid more serious counts. After a short stint in jail, he was released, but he was arrested again at a New Jersey airport in 2019 on child sex trafficking charges. Epstein committed suicide in federal prison before he was put on trial.
A key associate and former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested after Epstein’s death. She remains in federal jail in New York City on charges that she helped procure girls for Epstein to abuse.
Maxwell is scheduled to go on trial in November.