Federal Court Limits Damages to Victim For Circulation of Child-Porn Images

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A possessor of child pornography can be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, but only for those injuries he directly caused, says a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reported by the New York Law Journal. The court yesterday upheld restitution of $29,754 for Avery Lundquist for receiving and possessing pornographic images taken of a 4-year-old being sexually abused. The court overturned a lower-court order that Lundquist be held jointly and severally liable with others who viewed the images for a total of $3.4 million.

The decision clarifies the law on restitution in cases where the victim continues to be victimized through repeated circulation of pornographic images on the Internet. In the Lundquist case, the victim, referred to as “Amy,” is now in her 20s. Some 113 people have been convicted of possessing images of Amy taken when she was four by her uncle, who has also been prosecuted. Amy had undergone successful therapy for the child abuse, but experienced a reemergence of symptoms when she was 17 after being informed that images of her were still circulating on the Internet and men were being prosecuted for their possession. She sought restitution in more than 100 cases under the 1994 federal Violence Against Women Act.

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