Senate bill aims to ensure restitution for child porn victims

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill Wednesday that would create a restitution process for victims of child pornography.

“In an Internet age a child pornography victim’s pain never ends,” Hatch said on the Senate floor. “Victims of child pornography suffer a unique kind of harm and deserve a unique restitution process, and the Amy and Vicky Act is that solution.” 

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Hatch said the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act would consider the total harm to the victim, require timely restitution and allow defendants who have contributed to the same victim’s harm to spread the restitution cost among themselves.

Hatch said his bill was a response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Paroline v. United States, which he said placed too much burden on the victims to prove damages.

“In the Paroline decision, the Supreme Court made it clear that the ball was in Congress’ court in order to give child pornography victims the tools necessary to seek restitution from those responsible for perpetuating this heinous crime,” Hatch said. “The Amy and Vicky Act is that solution.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is cosponsoring the measure.

“The tragic effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in Paroline was this: the more widely viewed the pornographic image of a victim, and the more offenders there are, the more difficult it is for the victim to recover for her anguish and her damages,” Schumer said. “But there should not be safety in numbers.”

The bill is named after two victims of one of the most widely-distributed child pornography series.