In Child Porn Test Case, Judge Declines To Order Restitution

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In a closely watched test of a federal anti-child pornography law, a judge has refused to order a Texas man to pay nearly $3.4 million in restitution to a girl depicted in photos of child pornography he downloaded from the Internet, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Prosecutors urged the judge to order Doyle Paroline to pay full restitution for her injuries, including her sexual abuse by an uncle 12 years ago and the continued traffic in her photos on the web.

Paroline has been sentenced to serve two years for possession of child pornography. Based on federal law, prosecutors were seeking to impose the same high level of restitution as would be imposed against those who physically abused a child, photographed the abuse, and distributed the images. But U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis ruled the government had failed to prove the precise nature of the injuries caused by the man’s possession of two images of the girl. Congress established tough sentences not only for production of such outlawed images but also possession of them, in an effort to address a thriving international market for child porn. The law includes a provision for mandatory payment of “the full amount of the victim’s losses.”

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