Courts Order Restitution To Victims Of Abuse

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An American flag flies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)
An American flag flies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Next week the Supreme Court will take up a case to determine how restitution for a victim of child pornography will be paid out.

Doyle Paroline was sentenced to two years in prison after he was caught with child pornography on his computer.

He was ordered to pay $3.4 million dollars to one of the victims, who is now a grown woman.

But Paroline is arguing that he should not be responsible for the full damages, because other people also had the photos.

This comes as another woman recently became the first in Massachusetts state courts to receive restitution from a man convicted of having pornographic images of her on his computer.

The Violence Against Women Act has provisions that provide victims of sex crimes the right to compensation equal to the full amount of their losses.

In the Massachusetts case, the woman was awarded $8,000 in damages.

"The federal statute and state statute provide for out of pocket losses," Carol Hepburn, the attorney who represented the Massachusetts woman, tells Here & Now's Robin Young. "But the tremendous emotional damage that is done, that is so amorphous, is not compensated under these statutes."

Hepburn says it is the symbolic meaning of a winning verdict for for survivors of child pornography that is meaningful.

"You have to realize that for the children and young adults — and there are men as well as women who are in these circumstances — the affirmation by a court of merely entering an order that says 'Yes, what this defendant did is wrong, and it has harmed you, and we recognize it has harmed you,' that is a tremendous emotional boost," Hepburn said.


This segment aired on January 15, 2014.


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