Utah leads all states to unanimously support a new law that would make it easier for victims of child pornography to get restitution

Image of a gavel over bills. Undated | Photo by Garsya/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes led a bipartisan group of 54 state and territorial attorneys general in calling upon Congress to pass legislation supporting victims of child pornography, according to a statement from Reyes’ office.

The bipartisan bill, drafted by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, proposes to pass The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017; it unanimously passed the U.S. Senate Jan. 23 and awaits action in the House of Representatives. If enacted, the Amy, Vicky and Andy Act would make it easier for victims of child pornography to obtain restitution. A similar bill passed the U.S. Senate in 2015 but failed to pass the House of Representatives.

The letter is directed to House and Judiciary Committee leaders and was signed by every state attorney general in the nation along with attorneys general from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

“Victims need this bill,” Reyes said in the statement released Tuesday. “Child exploitation and abuse through pornography is one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide and certainly within our nation. A victim can be re-victimized his/her entire life from the dissemination of one child porn video. The number of children exploited globally has skyrocketed. The number of child porn images in the US processed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children increased by over two thousand percent in just a decade, and things have continued to get even worse.”

“The number of illicit images confiscated in Utah by the AG’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce has grown alarmingly. Cases of youth being extorted or otherwise terrorized as victims of porn have risen exponentially everywhere. The only thing that has decreased is restitution for victims. That’s unacceptable. Congress can change that narrative by passing this law.”

A 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Paroline v. United States held that while victims of child pornography are entitled to restitution, any individual defendant they sue is only liable for the harm caused by that one individual’s possession of the images.

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision puts an enormous burden on victims of child pornography,” according to the letter sent to Congress. “To receive restitution, a victim must pursue every case in which a defendant was found to possess images of the victim. As the Supreme Court recognized, digital images of each child victim are trafficked worldwide, and there may be thousands of defendants found to possess each victim’s images.

“As a result, victims are only able to receive a small amount of restitution from each defendant and must pursue thousands of cases to receive full restitution. Preventing victims from collecting full restitution protects defendants, who are shielded from having to pay meaningful costs to those they have harmed.”

The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act will improve the law in these ways, according to the letter:

  • Clarify congressional intent that victims be fully compensated for all the harms resulting from every perpetrator who contributed to their trauma.
  • Establish a more meaningful definition of “full amount of a victim’s losses.”
  • Clarify restitution owed to victims.
  • Establish a process for victims to receive compensation from the Child Pornography Victims Reserve within the federal Crime Victims Fund.
  • Require a judicial appointment of a guardian ad litem for victims of child pornography production.
  • Allow victims and their attorneys access to images in which they are depicted which is crucial for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, treatment and the prevention and prosecution of future crimes.
  • Require the U.S. Department of Justice to report on implementation within two years.

Resources

Ed. note: Updated March 10 to note bill drafted by Hatch and include full text of the bill and Hatch’s summary of the bill.

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8 Comments

  • comments March 7, 2018 at 11:32 am

    It might be a good idea in theory, but in practice not so much. The bigger issue is what is the system doing to stop child molesters and “child porn” producers in the first place? Once the images are out there they are out there forever. Better to go after the child molesters and “child porn” producers with these resources…

    “A victim can be re-victimized his/her entire life from the dissemination of one child porn video.”

    They’re only being “re-victimized” because the gov’t is telling them that some far away stranger is viewing the abuse imagery of them– where you have to ask: is the gov’t “re-victimizing” them by keeping this database in the first place? It actually ends up being absurdity. It is ironic that the FBI actually has the largest digital “child porn” collection in the entire world. It’s both absurd and ironic. You have to wonder about the ethics of even maintaining such a vast collection of child sex abuse imagery. The cancer of this society is child molestation, and the “child porn” is only a record of it. Go after true predators. Stop wasting resources on “thought crimes”.

    • Striker4 March 8, 2018 at 12:45 am

      Blah blah blah blah blah blah another useless and meaningless rant from the Prophet Bob

  • jaybird March 7, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    No stupid. The statement explicitly means that one picture of your ugly junk can be reviewed over and over. Now you can sue for it if ur under age, dope.

  • Striker4 March 8, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Job well done Utah !

  • comments March 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Well, the whole point is: You got these cops patting themselves on the back for catching these perverts looking at “child porn”. It’s a disgusting thing, but at the end of the day did these perverts molest any children? So they’re diverting resources away from capturing actual child molesters so they can make easy arrests for “child porn”, meanwhile children are out there still being raped and molested while the coppers patting each other on the head and give each other awards for only catching perverts who view the filth on their pc. Capture them all, but let’s get the job done and catch the actual abusers and producers of this stuff and not just the degenerates who sit at home and view it. And you don’t deserve medals and pats on the head until you catch the real child rapists and molesters. Stop going for the easy pickings. It’s like gathering up small time drug dealers, when what you want are the producers and major distributors, and they never ever catch those, because then the “war on drugs” would be won, and their funding would be cut back. All ridiculous. All of it!

  • comments March 10, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    SGnews, these are some scary links this guy has published in this comment. They seem to be sites supporting adult/child sexual interactions– nambla type sites. very very shady

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic March 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks c. The comment has been removed.

      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

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