WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is working to help victims of child pornography obtain full restitution for their suffering.
Last April, the Supreme Court limited the remedies available to victims of child pornography under federal law. The case concerned Pennsylvania resident “Amy,” whose childhood was shattered when, at ages eight and nine, her uncle raped her and then traded the images over the internet. The Supreme Court ruled that Amy would have to find each of the tens of thousands of people who have viewed the images in order to obtain full restitution — something the Court acknowledged was not feasible.
At that time, the Supreme Court called on Congress to fix the law. Toomey responded by co-sponsoring the bipartisan Justice for Amy and Vicky Act, which passed the Senate Wednesday unanimously.
“This bill is a win for victims of child pornography,” said Toomey. “Under the Supreme Court’s decision, the more a child has been sexually abused, the harder it is for that child to obtain justice. We should help victims of child sexual abuse, not place obstacles in their way. The Supreme Court called on Congress to act. I am pleased to work with Senator Hatch in finding a bipartisan solution. Child pornography is a heinous crime with lifelong effects. Its victims deserve nothing less than full compensation for the harm they suffered.”
To help victims of child pornography obtain full restitution, the Justice for Amy and Vicky Act would amend the federal restitution statute to provide that all defendants who produce, traffic, or possess child pornography of a victim are jointly and severally liable for all of that victim’s damages, and may sue one another for contribution. This legislation will move the burden from the victim to the child pornographers. Once one defendant is found guilty, he is held liable for the full damages and the burden is on him to sue all other wrongdoers to help pay the restitution award.