Justices struggle to determine restitution over child porn

WASHINGTON — A woman with the pseudonym Amy Unknown was at the Supreme Court on Wednesday as justices discussed the horrible events that changed her life: Her uncle raped her when she was a young girl, recorded that assault and other sex acts, and put the images on the Internet, where they have been viewed tens of thousands of times.

All the justices seemed to think that those who downloaded the images of Amy should pay to help her put her life back together. But they struggled to decide what any one person should pay.

Congress made it clear in 1994 that victims such as Amy deserved restitution from those who have viewed the pornographic images that feature them. The cost of Amy's abuse, according to a psychological report that described her trauma, counseling and medical treatment, is $3.4 million.

The question before the justices was how much of that should be paid by a Texas man named Doyle Randall Paroline.

Paroline pleaded guilty in 2009 to possessing 300 images of child pornography, including two of Amy. He was sentenced to prison. And on the matter of how much money he owes Amy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said all $3.4 million.

"He's guilty, he's guilty of the crime," Justin Antonin Scalia said of Paroline. "But to sock him for all of her psychiatric costs and everything else because he had two pictures of her? Congress couldn't have intended that."

Justices struggle to determine restitution over child porn 01/22/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:21pm]

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