Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

AG Balderas & 54 Attorneys General Call on Congress to Pass Legislation to Help Child Pornography Survivors Receive Restitution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2018

Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas and a bipartisan group of 54 state and territorial attorneys general called on congressional leaders 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 and Judiciary Committee leaders.

“The countless, innocent survivors of child exploitation in our nation must have as much financial assistance and support possible to help combat the horrific traumas they have suffered at the hands of their abusers, who many times subject these children to rape, violence and bestiality,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said. “Our bipartisan coalition of chief law enforcement officers is calling on Congress to protect these child survivors by passing the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act.”

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 will improve the law by:

  • Clarifying congressional intent that victims be fully compensated for all the harms resulting from every perpetrator who contributed to their trauma;
  • Establishing a more meaningful definition of “full amount of a victim’s losses;”
  • Clarifying restitution owed to victims;
  • Establishing a process for victims to receive compensation from the Child Pornography Victims Reserve within the federal Crime Victims Fund and requiring judicial appointment of a guardian ad litem for victims of child pornography production;
  • Allowing 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; and
  • Requiring the U.S. Department of Justice to report on implementation within two years.

In addition to Attorney General Hector Balderas, all state attorneys general signed the letter, along with attorneys general from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Click here for a copy of today’s letter – http://www.naag.org/assets/redesign/files/sign-onletter/NAAG%20Final%20Child%20Pornography%20Victim%20bill.pdf

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Raul Torrez

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