Court Tosses $3.4M Award to Child Porn Victim

But it upholds her right to collect something from everyone with her images

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2014 6:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court today agreed that people caught with child pornography must pay their victims some kind of financial restitution. But it did so while throwing out a $3.4 million award granted to a woman known as "Amy" whose abuse as a child has been widely distributed in child porn circles, reports USA Today. The majority of justices decided that one person shouldn't be forced to pay the full amount due to the victim; instead each guilty party should pay only what is deemed a reasonable amount for his particular role. Amy's uncle photographed and videotaped her abuse when she was 8 and 9, and she learned only when she was 17 that the images had become some of the mostly widely distributed child porn images in existence.

Her losses for psychological care, lost income, and legal fees have been estimated at $3.4 million, reports AP, and she sought to recoup the full amount from Doyle Paroline when he was caught in possession of two images of her. (Those were just a small part of his larger porn collection.) She won her case in a lower court, but the justices ruled today that Paroline shouldn't be held responsible for the full $3.14 millon. They left it to a lower court to figure out what the proper amount should be. “I am surprised and confused by the Court’s decision today," said Amy in comments posted by her attorney at the Washington Post. "I really don’t understand where this leaves me and other victims who now have to live with trying to get restitution probably for the rest of our lives." The court "said we should keep going back to the district courts over and over again but that’s what I have been doing for almost six years now."

Videojournalists set up outside of the Supreme Court in Washington Tuesday.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
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