Little St. James Island, part of the Epstein Estate off the coast of St. Thomas
ST. THOMAS — V.I. Attorney General Denise N. George walked back an earlier demand that the estate of deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein cancel non-disclosure agreements with Epstein’s victims and former employees. The agreements were designed to “conceal the criminal activity of Epstein and his associates who are still there,” according to the filing.
The attorney general, however, continues the court room fight over the fairness of the so-called Victims Compensation Fund, which would pay the under-aged girls and women who were victimized by Epstein. As proposed by the Estate, the victim’s fund would compensate Epstein’s victims only if they agree not to sue anyone associated with his crimes.
Through the Department of Justice, the attorney general filed an update earlier this week with the Virgin Islands Probate Court. The department filed a civil lawsuit against the nearly $600 million Epstein Estate to ensure Epstein's victim's are fairly compensated and to ensure the territory can seize funds due the government.
In the filing with the Probate Court, Ms. George backed off the demands that non-disclosure agreement be cancelled. While the demands were “still important,” the attorney general said cancelling the agreements would not be tied to the Justice Department’s approval of the Victim Compensation Fund, according to the Status Update recorded on March 18th in St. Thomas.
Ms. George has contended in her frequent off-island media interviews that the non-disclosure agreements are also being used to shield high-profile associates of Epstein.
According to a Vanity Fair magazine report last month, “… The people who worked on Epstein’s island, tended to his various companies such as Southern Trust, drove his boats, piloted his planes, etc., probably know more about Epstein’s activities than anyone else—and all are likely bound by nondisclosure agreements."
According to the magazine, Ms. George said “An employee told me that he saw Prince Andrew on a balcony out at Little St. James groping girls right out in the open. … He said he remembered walking up to him and saying, ‘Good morning, your Highness.’"
Accusations against friends and associates of Epstein’s are impossible to investigate, Ms. George told Vanity Fair, unless the estate agrees to release former employees from the NDAs they were required to sign when they went to work for the convicted sex offender on his private island.
Last month, Ms. George raised concerns about the proposed Fund, including that the proposed program administrator for the Fund was selected solely by the Estate, and did not appear to be in the best interests of Epstein’s victims. The attorney general backed away from that argument in the recent filing.
As laid out in the V.I. Government’s status report to the Court, the attorney general has worked closely with counsel for victims and agreed on a joint set of proposed recommendations for a fair and equitable alternative victim Fund, the VI Department of Justice said in a press release regarding the filing. “While the Estate and its program administrator have addressed several of these recommendations, significant issues remain,” Ms. George said.
At the victims’ suggestion, Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and the country’s preeminent expert and advocate on child sexual abuse issues, is being proposed by the Attorney General and the victims as an independent administrator. “Professor Hamilton’s involvement would ensure that the program operates, and is perceived as operating, fairly, independently, and with informed sensitivity to the unique experiences of victims of sexual abuse and exploitation,” the DOJ release stated.
“Epstein’s victims deserve to have a qualified, independent sexual abuse advocate involved in the claims process, who understands their unique and traumatic experiences and has expertise in assessing the consequences of sexual abuse,” said Attorney General George.
The VIDOJ press statement stated: “The Attorney General’s Office remains willing to work with the Estate to establish a Program that is fair, independent, and credible, in the interest of protecting victims from adversarial litigation, ensuring that they receive appropriate compensation for Epstein’s crimes, and preserving the assets of the Estate for the public interest.”