- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A bill named for two women whose childhood images were turned into heinous pornography was handily passed in the Senate on Wednesday.

The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act was approved by a 98-0 vote.

The measure gives hope to victims that they will finally be able to win major compensation from any single person who illegally viewed, made or distributed their images.

Victims of child pornography and other sexual exploitation “ought to have access to full restitution from any single perpetrator for their losses,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.

The bill establishes a minimum amount for damages for certain child pornography offenses and makes any single perpetrator responsible for the full damages created by a crime that involves multiple perpetrators, Mr. Grassley’s office said.

Perpetrators, instead of victims, will have the burden of suing each other to recover damages they paid beyond their offenses.

Medical costs, lost income and therapy are included in compensable damages.

The bill responds to a 2014 Supreme Court 5-4 ruling in Paroline v. United States that said people convicted of viewing, making or distributing child pornography should be ordered to pay a nontrivial amount of restitution — but it should fit the scale of the offense.

This meant that since every viewing, possession or sale of child pornography is a crime against the victim, the victim would have to chase every criminal to recover damages.

That was not Congress’ intention when it wrote the original legislation, said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and a key author of the current law and the new bill.

The Paroline case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a woman known as “Amy Unknown” against Doyle R. Paroline of Texas, who was convicted of having two images of her in his child pornography collection.

When the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Amy’s favor and ordered Paroline to pay $3.4 million in damages to her, Paroline asked the Supreme Court to review his case. Paroline’s court-appointed attorney said after they won last year that he would contest any restitution award against his client.

Amy, now an adult, was sexually assaulted by her uncle when she was about 9 years old. The uncle put pictures of her rape online, and those images have been shared by pedophiles worldwide.

 “Vicky” is the pseudonym of another victim, whose father raped her as a child and took “orders” from men to make videos of her being bound and sodomized.

 Vicky and “Andy,” a victim who was raped by male volunteer with a mentoring group in Utah, filed a brief in support of full restitution in the Paroline case.
 
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