TOPEKA – (March 6, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today joined a bipartisan group of 54 state and territorial attorneys general in calling on Congress to pass legislation supporting victims of child pornography.
The bipartisan bill -- the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017 -- 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 leaders.
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,” the letter reads. “In order 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 in order 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 would clarify the law by stating that victims could be fully compensated for all the harms resulting from every perpetrator who contributed to their trauma. It would also establish a process for victims to receive compensation from the Child Pornography Victims Reserve within the federal Crime Victims Fund and require judicial appointment of a guardian ad litem for victims of child pornography production.
The attorneys general of Washington and Utah led the letter, which was signed by the attorneys general of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. A copy of the letter is available at http://bit.ly/2H8fpbG.