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Victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s Sex Crimes — Possible Justice Emerges

06/8/2020
Politics and Topical News
BY

Jeffrey Epstein — one of several mugshots

Dozens of South Florida women victimized by the late Jeffrey Epstein’s elaborate sex-trafficking operation stand to benefit from a new fund established in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The fund, amassed from the Epstein’s $634 million fortune that was tied up in an estate in the Caribbean territory following his incarceration in 2019 – will pay out damages to those who endured, suffered and were forever harmed at the hands of the former Palm Beach resident.

Through the combined efforts of victims’ attorneys, government officials, and representatives of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate, a Victims’ Fund has been established that will provide an opportunity to compensate Epstein’s victims- many of whom would otherwise be ineligible to receive compensation for the sexual abuse they suffered. These are important highlights of the program:

  •    -it is voluntary
  •    -it is entirely confidential 
  •    -it carries no obligations until you are informed of whether you qualify and how much you will be compensated 
  •    -the fund is available to victims no matter how long ago you were victimized
  •    -the fund is available even if you previously settled claims against Epstein but were not fully compensated
  •    -there are no limits on the total amount of compensation available to victims up to the full value of the assets held in the Estate which total over half a billion dollars

There are no specific criteria for determining the amount to be awarded to those who submit claims, but the discretionary decisions of the claim administrators will be guided by such factors as 

  •    -the victim’s age at the time of the abuse
  •    -the nature, extent, and frequency of the abuse
  •    -the nature and duration of the damages suffered by the victim
  •    -the strength and quality of the evidence supporting the claim
  •    -the amount of any compensation previously received

“Justice for victims of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has been elusive, but a new deal is designed to benefit those harmed by the part-time Palm Beacher,” according to a WPEC-TV story titled “Deal establishes compensation fund for Epstein victims.” “Last summer, two days before Epstein’s death in a federal corrections facility in Manhattan, he moved his assets to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Now, following months of negotiations, attorneys for both victims and Epstein’s estate have reached an agreement in principle to establish a fund in the Virgins Islands, for those hurt by the financier.”

The fund will bring a sense of justice to the women who never had the opportunity to face the accused because of an unbelievable chain of events – 30-plus years in the making – that kept Epstein out of jail, with immunity, as he continued to prey on vulnerable minors. But even more so, the fund will allow victims who chose not to come forward in the past out of fear or embarrassment – as well as victims who settled claims cheaply – to have a much-deserved voice. Many of the women were teen-agers when they were abused by Epstein. His modus operandi was to talk them into massages and then force them to perform sex acts.

“About three months after Epstein’s death, attorneys for his estate suggested a compensation fund for victims,” according to the WPEC-TV story. “In a release announcing a deal had been reached, Denise George, the Attorney General for the Virgin Islands, said she opposed the estate’s initial demand that “victims be required to sign broad releases, to protect other individuals who sexually abused them.” The probate court in the Virgin Islands still has to approve the compensation fund. Investigations into alleged co-conspirators are still underway.”

In the release, titled “V.I. Attorney General Opposes Epstein Estate Demand for Broad Release of Parties Involved in Victim Abuse,” George expresses her reasons for opposing the executors’ verbiage.

“With this demand still in place, the Fund cannot ensure a fundamentally fair and legally sufficient process for victims who choose to participate,” she states. “While it does not affect the Government’s lawsuit, such a broad release essentially amounts to a misuse of probate funds and an abuse of the probate process, solely to protect persons who are not a part of the Estate.”

Jack Scarola, a partner at Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, was among the first attorneys to successfully prosecute civil lawsuits on behalf of Epstein victims, then in 2018 he represented Bradley Edwards, a lawyer in Fort Lauderdale representing some of the women who made claims of sexual misconduct against Epstein. Epstein sued Edwards in an attempt to silence him. The case never made it to trial in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Epstein settled and admitted his malicious abuse of the legal system in an extraordinary public confession of guilt.

“But, Edwards said, the settlement is just another step in a long journey,” states a Palm Beach Daily News story titled “Settlement reached in billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein case.” “The Fort Lauderdale attorney and his legal team pledged to continue to pursue Epstein on behalf of dozens of young women who claim Epstein paid them for sex when some were as young as 14.”

At a press conference announcing the settlement, Scarola mentioned a congressional investigation into an overwhelmingly lenient deal that federal prosecutors offered Epstein in 2009:

“Instead of facing federal charges that could put him behind bars for years, Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to two state charges – solicitation of a minor for prostitution and solicitation of prostitution,” according to the Palm Beach Daily News. “He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a vacant wing of the county stockade – a cell he was allowed to leave 16 hours a day, six days a week.”

The sordid tale of the convicted felon who died in prison presumably by suicide is captured in the new Netflix docuseries “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” in which Jack Scarola appears; along with others in his firm – Karen Terry, David Vitale and Chris Rodgers. A television critic, cutting through all of the drama, makes a compelling argument about the four-hour show.

“…there’s a missed opportunity to further probe this story’s most disturbing and lasting aspect: How and why such a person emerges, fails upward for decades, criminally exploits others along the way and continually thrives, while always seeming to elude those who not only seek justice, but also the whole truth,” Hank Stuever writes. “Without that sort of information, how will we recognize the next Jeffrey Epstein?”

Scarola and this law firm intend to pursue the truth. Anyone interested in receiving more information or would like our assistance in processing a claim may contact our firm. 

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