Child Pornography Restitution Issue Hits U.S. Supreme Court Tomorrow

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A woman known as Amy whose childhood rapes by her uncle were filmed and widely traded on the Internet wants the Supreme Court to make it easier for child pornography victims to collect money from people who view the brutal images on their computers, says the Associated Press. The case set for argument tomorrow at the Supreme Court involves Doyle Paroline of Texas, who pleaded guilty to having images of children engaged in sex acts on his computer. Paroline is appealing an order holding him responsible to pay Amy nearly $3.4 million. Of the several hundred incriminating images on Paroline’s computer, just two were of Amy.

Advocates for child porn victims say that holding defendants liable for the entire amount of losses reflects the ongoing harm that victims suffer each time someone views the images. The threat of a large financial judgment, coupled with a prison term, might deter people from looking at the images in the first place, advocates say. The money is intended to cover the cost of Amy’s psychological care, lost income and legal fees. Thirty-four states, dozens of victims’ rights and child advocacy groups, local prosecutors and members of Congress are urging the court to uphold the ruling against Paroline by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

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