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The executors of Epstein's estate submitted papers to the U.S. Virgin Island Superior Court requesting “expedited approval” for the establishment of the fund, officials announced in a press release. It "will allow eligible individuals the opportunity to resolve their sexual abuse claims against Mr. Epstein and his Estate through a confidential, non-adversarial alternative to litigation."
The program will be overseen by a trio of administrators – including prominent attorney Ken Feinberg – who say they will seek input from the accusers and their attorneys before it is finalized. Feinberg was one of the people who handled the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund and was enlisted in July to oversee Boeings' victim fund.
“This important program will offer victims the opportunity to obtain long-overdue compensation, to be heard and treated with the compassion, dignity and respect they deserve, and to achieve some measure of justice and validation that has eluded them for so many years,” said one of the administrators, Jordana H. Feldman, in a prepared statement. Feldman’s previous work also includes a role with the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund.
Epstein's estate executors will have "no authority" over the experts' claims determinations, the press release noted.
“[P]articipation in the program will be entirely voluntary and will not affect any rights the claimant may have unless and until she accepts the compensation determination and signs a litigation release," co-administrator Camille S. Biros said in a statement. "All claimants will be afforded an opportunity to meet confidentially with the Administrator, if they so desire, in order to provide any information that may bear upon the evaluation of their claims.”
Epstein, who was reportedly worth more than $550 million, owned properties in Manhattan, New Mexico, Paris and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The previously convicted sex offender was charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy in July, but the criminal charges against him were later dropped after he was found dead on August 10.
A New York City medical examiner deemed he had committed suicide by hanging, but experts and even elected officials still have questions surrounding his death.
Authorities are still investigating potential co-conspirators. Meanwhile, several accusers have filed civil lawsuits against the financier's estate.
"The case did not end with Mr. Epstein's death because part of his legacy is what he did to these victims," longtime attorney Gloria Allred told FOX Business at the time.
Allred said in a statement on Friday she welcomed any plan to "fully and fairly compensate victims."
"It remains to be seen, however, if such a plan will resolve claims of victims in a just manner without the necessity of years of litigation in order to achieve the justice that that [sic] victims deserve."
Meanwhile, attorney Dan Kaiser, who represents accuser Jennifer Araoz, said his client has decided to continue to pursue her court case though New York State, which is still active under the Child Victims Act.
"Jennifer is supportive of all efforts to insure [sic] Epstein victims are adequately compensated for their terrible victimization at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein," Kaiser said. "Each victim, however, must make an individual decision as to how to best pursue legal remedies for their injuries."
The compensation program is expected to begin accepting claims in roughly 90 days, pending the court's approval.
"If the Estate is placing all estate assets into the claims program for victims, then it is a positive step," Lawyer Brad Edwards, who is also representing accusers, said in an emailed statement. "In the meantime, we intend to get the filed cases to trial quickly. Either way, justice for our clients, without delay, is our goal."