Update: In August 2021, the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program (Epstein VCP) closed. The fund paid approximately $121 million to more than 100 sexual abuse survivors.
On June 25, 2020, the estate of Jeffrey Epstein opened the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program (Epstein VCP). Epstein — a millionaire and financier — was accused of sexually abusing and assaulting hundreds of girls and young women. He committed suicide in 2019.
More than 100 survivors of Epstein’s abuse were expected to file claims through the program. Compensation potentially ranged from thousands to millions of dollars. The compensation will come from Epstein’s estate, which is allegedly worth $630 million.
Jeffrey Epstein Sex Scandal
Epstein was accused of child sexual abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking and promoting prostitution. A lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands alleges 22 counts of these and other related crimes. The lawsuit cites aggravated rape, child abuse and neglect, human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution against Epstein.
According to legal filings, the majority of the criminal activity was committed against minors, ranging in ages from 11 to 18.
Epstein was a registered sex offender in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He owned two private islands in the territory. Due to the isolated nature of the islands, Epstein was able to engage in criminal sexual activity and evade the authorities.
In July 2019, Epstein was arrested for alleged crimes committed between 2002 and 2005. While awaiting trial, Epstein committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell. This was confirmed by the official ruling of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner’s Office.
What Is The Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program?
On June 25, 2020, the Epstein estate created the Epstein VCP. The program was designed to compensate victims of Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein’s estate compensated victims through the program. Prior to survivor payouts, the estate’s estimated worth was $630 million.
Several groups collaborated on the Epstein VCP including:
- The Epstein estate
- Victim attorneys
- The Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Several administrators experienced in compensation programs
The administrators for this program included Jordana Feldman, Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros.
Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros worked together on several high-profile compensation programs. They designed several programs for Catholic dioceses accused of sexual abuse in multiple states.
Jordana Feldman acted as Administer of the Program. She determined the awards on a case-by-case basis. Feldman previously served as the deputy special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Professor Marci A. Hamilton — a nationally-recognized sex abuse expert — also served as a consultant to Feldman and her staff.
Epstein VCP Details
In press statements, Feldman recognized that money will not heal all the trauma experienced by survivors. However, she hopes it will offer some “sense of validation and justice for victims.”
Key program details related to compensation include:
- Compensation through the program was not capped.
- Compensation was determined on a case-by-case basis.
- There was no time limit on claims. Older claims were considered by the program as well as those cases still within the legal statute of limitations.
- Claimants who recruited other girls for Epstein under duress were also considered for compensation.
Victims who received compensation through the Epstein VCP waived their rights to future litigation against the estate. This is common among compensation funds and other settlement agreements. Victims can withdraw or reject the awarded compensation at any point before signing a settlement agreement.
The release of rights does not prevent victims from filing civil claims or lawsuits against people who played a negligent or abusive role in the scandal. However, it does protect employees of Epstein involved in the scheme from legal claims.
Conclusion Of The Epstein VCP
When the Epstein VCP opened, administrators sent 100 claim packets to victims who had previously filed a claim of sexual abuse or other legal action against Jeffrey Epstein.
Survivors who had not yet reported abuse or filed a lawsuit were also able to participate. These survivors were required to register and submit a claim with the Epstein VCP by March 25, 2021.
Approximately 225 survivors brought claims forward. However, not all claims were deemed eligible, and the program rejected about 75 claims. Additionally, some survivors chose to file lawsuits instead of accepting compensation through the program.
At its end, the program paid approximately $121 million to more than 135 individuals. Each award was determined based on the unique circumstances of the claim. Some individual claimants received awards of more than $1 million in compensation.
“It is a highly individualized process and not one where you type the number into a computer and everyone gets the same award. It can be heavy stuff. It is intimate, and people are coming in and laying bare this private information that they may not have shared with their own spouse or family members.”
The details of the compensation awarded will remain anonymous as the fund promised confidentiality and anonymity to claimants.
Fund administrators worked to finalize the awards quickly to compensate survivors. Additionally, Feldman aimed to pay final awards before August 10, 2021 — the second anniversary of Epstein’s death.
“I really believe these programs are as much about validation as compensation,” said Feldman of the fund.
Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund. (N.D.) Home.
Epstein Victims’ Compensation Fund. (N.D.) Welcome.
Fitzpatrick, S., Kaplan, A. (2020, June 25). Compensation fund for Jeffrey Epstein victims opens; more than 100 women expected to file claims. NBC News.
Goldstein, M. (2021, August 9). Fund for Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims Has Paid Out More Than $121 Million. The New York Times.
Hurtado, P., Wyss, J. (2020, June 25). Epstein Victims Get Chance to Claim Share of $600 Million Estate. Bloomberg.
Levenson, E., Schuman, M. (2020, January 15). Jeffrey Epstein allegedly sexually abused girls in the US Virgin Islands through 2018. CNN.
Winter, T. (2019, July 11). Who is Jeffrey Epstein, and why has he been arrested again? NBC News.