A fund meant to compensate victims of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has temporarily suspended compensation offers over concerns that there won’t be enough money to pay the victims, the executor of the fund announced Thursday.
More than 150 people have already filed claims with the fund since it launched in June. So far, it’s doled out more than $50 million from Epstein’s estate, according to a statement from Jordana Feldman, the fund’s administrator.
The suspension is effective immediately, and won’t lift until March 25, 2021—the deadline for people to submit claims. (People with new allegations against Epstein must come forward by February 8 of this year.) It could also lift if Feldman is sure that there’s enough money to sufficiently pay everyone’s claims.
“Although I sincerely regret having to take this action, I have concluded that it is necessary to protect the interests of eligible claimants who have not yet resolved their claims through the program,” Feldman said in a statement Thursday. “I remain deeply committed to ensuring that the program continues to operate with transparency and integrity, and that all eligible claimants receive the compensation and validation they deserve.”
On Wednesday, Epstein’s estate informed Feldman that there was not sufficient liquidity to replenish the fund for victims. It didn’t know when that liquidity would be restored.
Epstein died by hanging in 2019, while he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges in a Manhattan jail. Previously convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor, Epstein was dogged in the years that followed by accusations that he had sexually abused several more young girls. His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, is set to stand trial this summer, over allegations that she helped recruit and groom his victims.
After Epstein’s death, his accusers were left without a clear path to justice. In response, his estate’s executors created the compensation fund. Similar funds have been set up to compensate people who say they were sexually abused by Catholic clergy members or for victims of national tragedies like the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.