A Step towards Justice: Child Porn Survivor Wins Restitution in NY Case, Attorney Carol Hepburn Notes the Importance of Restitution for Child Porn Survivors

September 2, 2015

Last month, a Utah boy known as “Andy” won restitution in a New York court from a man who was convicted of possessing images of the boy’s abuse. Andy was reportedly sexually abused from the ages of 6 to 12, and to date, more than 700 defendants across the U.S. have been ordered to pay Andy restitution.

Following a restitution win for a survivor of child porn, Savage Law Firm’s Seattle Child Sex Abuse Lawyer Carol Hepburn notes the importance of restitution for survivors.

Following a restitution win for a survivor of child porn, Savage Law Firm’s Seattle Child Sex Abuse Lawyer Carol Hepburn notes the importance of restitution for survivors.

The idea behind such monetary awards is that child pornography survivors are continually victimized every time their images are viewed. Those who possess and distribute survivors’ images should be responsible for contributing to the costs of their recovery, which can include therapy, medical care, etc.

Speaking to the importance of restitution for the survivors of child pornography, Seattle Attorney Carole Hepburn has stated:

For one of my clients, it literally means putting food on her table. It means paying the rent… For others, it means getting the therapy that they need. It means knowing that they have a little bit put away for those times when they won’t be able to work.

While Andy has reportedly been awarded nearly $400,000 in restitution to date, he has only collected about $13,000. His total documented financial losses, including past and future lost earnings due to his trauma, however, have been estimated to total about $2.1 million.

U.S. v. Paroline: Background on Restitution for Child Porn Survivors

In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking ruling in U.S. v. Paroline, holding that the people who possess images of a victim of child pornography are – at least in part – responsible for the impacts their actions have on the victim.

Even if the consumers of child pornography played no role in the physical abuse depicted in the images and movie files, victims can seek restitution from these consumers, the high court ruled. This is because the consumers of child porn “collectively create the demand that fuels the creation of abusive images.”

Lawmakers Looking to Increase Minimum Restitution for Child Porn Survivors

Looking to build on the foundation laid by the U.S. v. Paroline ruling, two Senators have proposed a bill that could set floors for the amount of restitution for child porn survivors. The bill, which has been co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Senator Charles Schumer, D-New York, would specifically set the minimum restitution awards as follows:

  • $250,000 for the production of child pornography
  • $150,000 for distributing these images
  • $25,000 for possessing these images.

Explaining the basis of this bill, Sen. Schumer wrote in February that:

Victims of child pornography experience significant trauma… our laws shouldn’t add to that pain by making it more difficult to get the restitution that they deserve. Each victim deserves full and fair restitution, and this legislation will help them achieve exactly that.

This bill has been passed by the U.S. Senate 98-0 and is currently progressing through the House.

While you can read more about Andy’s case here, contact Seattle Attorney Carol Hepburn if you or someone you love has been the subject of child pornography or any type of child sex abuse.

Contact a Portland & Seattle Child Sex Abuse Lawyer at the Savage Law Firm

At the Savage Law Firm, our Portland & Seattle child sex abuse attorneys understand that no amount of money can ever make up for childhood sexual abuse and exploitation. However, we also know that helping abuse survivors obtain compensation from their abusers and the consumers of their images can be crucial to helping them obtain:

  • A sense of justice
  • The financial support they need if they are unable to work due to their psychological issues
  • The counseling and other long-term treatments they may need to deal with the damage caused by their abuse.

If you or a loved one has been a subject of child pornography, we encourage you to learn more about your rights and how we can help you by attending a free, no obligations initial consult.

Call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

Categories: Child Sex Abuse News, Portland Child Sex Abuse Lawyers