Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in July on charges he abused and trafficked in women and girls from 2002 to 2005 in Manhattan and Florida and pleaded not guilty
A fund to compensate victims of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuse will start making payouts after dozens of women sought damages from his $634 million fortune.
An order approving the fund was signed by Judge Carolyn Hermon-Percell on Wednesday. It allows the fund to go into effect from June 15.
Jordan Merson, one of the lawyer's representing the convicted sex offender's accusers, told The New York Post: 'All of the approximate $650 million in the estate should be distributed to the victims.'
'We are pleased that the Compensation Fund can move forward and are hopeful that it provides the awards necessary so that these women are fully compensated for a lifetime of anguish', he added.
Jordana Feldman, the former head of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, will head the fund. The decision came more than nine months after Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sexual abuse and sex trafficking charges.
The Virgin Islands probate court had been handling the estate.
Lawyers for the estate, which was valued at $636.1 million before the recent global market plunge, had proposed the fund last year.
They drew objections from victims' lawyers who said they had not been consulted, and from Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George, who resisted requiring victims to sign broad releases that could block them from suing Epstein's associates.
'We resolved the release issue,' Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing victims, said in an email last month. 'I can't say too much about that at this time but any of Epstein's friends who were also abusers will not be released.'
'My office will forcefully continue its work to hold accountable Epstein´s criminal enterprise,' George, who announced the agreement, said in a statement.
Little St. James Island, one of the properties of Jeffrey Epstein, is seen in an aerial view
Houses are seen at Little St. James Island, one of the properties of financier Jeffrey Epstein
Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, executors of the estate, had said at the end of last month that they were 'pleased' with the agreement, which they said would ensure claimants were treated with 'compassion, dignity and respect.'
Epstein was arrested in July on charges he abused and trafficked in women and girls from 2002 to 2005 in Manhattan and Florida and pleaded not guilty.
He died August 10, two days after signing his will, by hanging himself in his cell.
George sued the estate in January, saying Epstein's sexual misconduct there stretched from 2001 to 2018 and included raping and trafficking in dozens of women and girls.
One of those seeking compensation is artist and former employee Maria Farmer. She was the first woman to come forward with sexual assault claims back in 1996.
One of those seeking compensation is artist and former employee Maria Farmer. She was the first woman to come forward with sexual assault claims back in 1996
Epstein's Manhattan mansion is seen. A fund to compensate victims of his sexual abuse will start making payouts after dozens of women sought damages from his $634 million fortune
In February lawyers for Epstein's $600 million estate told a U.S. Virgin Islands court that liens imposed by the attorney general there had left them unable to pay bills to maintain his various properties, the Miami Herald reported.
The filing asked the court to strike down the liens, or at least make exceptions to pay bills such as utilities and caretaker wages at the various properties in the estate.
The estate's probate matters were being settled in the Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned an island. He also owned multi-million properties in New York, Florida, and New Mexico.
Zorro Ranch, one of the properties of financier Jeffrey Epstein, is seen in an aerial view near Stanley, New Mexico in a file photo
Virgin Island Attorney General Denise George placed the liens on his estate on January 31 as part of a civil enforcement action.
In her lawsuit, George said Epstein's misconduct on the Virgin Islands ran from 2001 to 2018, and included raping and trafficking in dozens of women and girls on Little St. James, a private island he saw as 'the perfect hideaway.'
Attorneys for the estate had previously blamed the liens for its inability to begin payouts to victims of the late financier's sexual abuse.