NEW YORK — A fund set up to provide money to victims of financier Jeffrey Epstein announces that it has largely completed its work, after agreeing to deliver nearly $125 million to more than 135 individuals.
The announcement comes from Jordana Feldman, the administrator of the Epstein Victims Compensation Program, which, since late June of last year, has operated independently of Epstein’s estate.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in August 2019, in a Manhattan lockup, a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. Dozens of women have alleged that Epstein for decades had sexually abused teenage girls and women, often by turning mansion massages into sexual assaults.
Feldman says 92 percent of 150 eligible applicants accepted what was offered by the fund, which received 225 claims, far more than the roughly 100 or so claims that were expected, based on the number of women who had sued and spoken to lawyers.
Payouts were generally processed and paid within two to three months after claimants shared their experiences in confidential meetings, according to a release from the fund.
Feldman, who declines to provide demographics on claimants, says she met individually with over 200 fund applicants and tried to put them at ease at the outset by saying nothing would be recorded, leading them to “kind of relax their shoulders a little bit.”
“I do think that there was a sense of comfort knowing that this was a safe space to share their stories. And I think that the process was exhausting but empowering for many of these victims. Empowerment in having come forward and reclaiming a sense of control and ownership in their own narrative,” she says.
Feldman says she also did not record the meetings because she did not want to create an extra record of the meetings, which occurred as criminal probes continue into Epstein and those who might have aided his sex crimes since the 1990s. His ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges and awaits a November trial in Manhattan federal court.