Child Pornography Victims Abandoned at the Supreme Court

Last week, the Solicitor General filed this brief with the United States Supreme Court which effectively denies child victims the ability to obtain criminal restitution from the thousands of child molesters and pedophiles who collect and share child pornography.

The defendant in the case currently pending before the Supreme Court, Amy v. Monzel, admitted to law enforcement that he sexually abused his granddaughter and traded images of girls being sexually abused. A search of his home uncovered more than 800 child sex abuse images including pictures of Amy, the victim in this case. The defendant pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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The District court ordered the defendant to pay just $5000 in criminal restitution to Amy, a girl whose rape and sexual abuse images were found in his collection. That award was overturned on appeal. Amy then appealed to the Supreme Court where three amici joined her in asking the Court to take the case.

Despite supporting the victims in the lower courts, the government abandoned victims of child pornography at the Supreme Court by asking the Court not to review the Court of Appeals’ denial of restitution. The Solicitor General’s position on this issue effectively strips victims of child pornography the ability to obtain criminal restitution from any of the thousands of child molesters and pedophiles who collect and share their child sex abuse images.

The Solicitor General is essentially asking the Supreme Court to uphold a standard of proof that government cannot meet. During the past two years, the government has failed in hundreds of cases throughout the country to convince federal judges that the standard they are now defending in the Supreme Court will result in any restitution for victims of child pornography. In July, the government lost this case in the Ninth Circuit on just this issue and decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Victims of child pornography deserve their day in court. Three amicus filed briefs in the Supreme Court supporting this basic right, highlighting the importance of this issue for children who are sexually abused and exploited through child pornography.

As a candidate in 2008, President Obama supported the death penalty for defendants convicted of raping a child. Now the Solicitor General is promoting a standard which will save some of these same defendants from paying restitution to their victims. While millionaire child molesters are housed in government prisons at taxpayer expense, child sex abuse victims like Amy must rely on public assistance and charity to take care of their most basic needs.

When Congress—led by then Senator and now Vice President Biden—passed the child pornography restitution statute in 1994, it made restitution mandatory for victims. In fact, Congress felt so strongly that every child pornography victim receive the “full amount” of their losses that it used the word mandatory twice in the statute. Despite this clear requirement, federal courts throughout the country are confused and their often arbitrary approaches have led to widely differing outcomes for victims. A deepening split among the Courts of Appeals and the district courts require a decisive decision and direction that only the Supreme Court can provide.

Only the Supreme Court can conclusively guarantee a child pornography victim’s right to restitution. Justice delayed is justice denied. Victims of child pornography have waited and suffered long enough.

This entry was posted in Children's Legal Issues, Legal Decisions, Restitution and tagged on by .

About James R. Marsh

A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and its acclaimed Child Advocacy Law Clinic, James represents victims of sex abuse in schools, colleges, churches, foster care, and government and military institutions; online sexual exploitation; sexting; child pornography; child trafficking; sextortion; and revenge porn. He is an experienced trial attorney and frequent commentator and author on legal issues affecting children. James founded the nationally recognized Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC and currently serve as co-chair of its emeritus board.

4 thoughts on “Child Pornography Victims Abandoned at the Supreme Court

  1. Judi Speir-Crawford

    I’m 67 years old and continue to pay $100/ session for psychotherapy to heal the wounds that being the victim of child porn has caused. It is just like a car accident: you have the initial impact, then there’s the secondary impact of hitting the post that the truck has pushed my car into and then the tertiary hit when my car has spun around like on a pin ball machine and bounced off that post and knocked it down and banged into the telephone pole and knocked that down and then I get screwed by the insurance company because the investigator forgot to get the police report and treated the victim (me)like it is my fault and refused to pay any of my ongoing medical bills because I was in therapy! The drunk driver of the dodge ram truck goes away to her club even though she was driving 70 in a 25 mile zone in downtown Ann Arbor! I was going between 20-25mph.

    I use a walker, had a concussion, and my health continues to deteriorate. But it was all because I had a previous history of mental illness: depression! I also can neither add nor subtract which meant that I had to stop working and eventially go on disabilaty. Screwed by the pornographers and then by the insurance company!

    I began to be depressed when I had a daughter the ages I was when I was sold into child porn. Let’s see: the guy who did makeup and wardrobe got his turn; the lights and sound guys got theirs; the producer, director, actors, distrubtors, etc; all got their kinky whatevers. Raised in the Catholic Church they had their own sophisticated kiddie porn with professional movie sites and no cheap costumes for them. Their outfits were as meticulously made as the mens’ of the church’ robes. I was picked up in a black limosine. All the abuse things happened whether it was a monk, priest, bishop or cardinal or they were just dressed like one or pretending to be one. Small or mafia run; it all worked the same.

    Friends and family plan: what do pedophiles want for their birthdays, Christmas, raises, job firings, any holidays, special events, sad events, winning the pot at poker, losing the pot at poker,when they are drinking, when they are not drinking, having big get togethers, small get togethers, winning at bowling, losing at bowling, drinking at the bar, drinking at home, Friday nite paychecks, Thursday nites with no money? You are starting to get it! A KID! ORAL SEX, VAGINAL SEX, ANAL SEX, LIGHT SEX, TICKLING SEX, RAMMING IT UP TO YOUR EYES SEX, RAMMING IT DOWN TO CHINA SEX, AND I LIKE TO SIT ON YOU HEAD SEX, I like to pee on your head and poop on you sex and I like to have you scream and see lots of blood sex!!!!!! That is what pornography is!

    So never, ever allow anyone to just say “child pornography” like it is a two word phrase with 16 letters. It is not. See the definition above. See those paragraphs. That is the definition. Don’t let anyone ever sanatize it, Please. Please. Please. I am sorry if it offends you. I am sorry if it makes you cry. I am crying now. I am 67 years old and have spent probably half a million on therapy and have three master’s degrees and my tears still burn like acid. Thank you for listening.

    Starting at the age of two years old. Please make the judges read this. Please send this to the Supreme Court Judges. Should Amy be reimbursed? No amount of millions of dollars can ever repay her for what she went through, but it is a good start and will help with her therapy. I will testify for her. Judi.

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  2. Josie

    Thanks you Judi for your honesty and for sharing just a glimpse into the destruction that happens to a child victim of pornography. I wish you all the best in life and continued healing. Enough restitution for child victims of pornography to pay for lifetime psychotherapy sessions is a good start (lets say ~$1,000,000 per victim should cover it – although that only two sessions a week for 16 years). The fact that the Supreme Court doesn’t want to pay any restitution makes me think there are perpetrators of child pornography sitting on the Supreme Court bench. Only thing that can explain their decision.

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  3. John Chapman

    I too am a survivor of child pornograhy and I would like to share with the Justices and others what I have been through for the past 30 years. I’m 46 and 30 plus years ago (age 11-14) I was a victim of sexual abuse to include child pornograhy. The abuse still haunts me today.

    Like most victims of this abuse, I suffer from depression, PTSD, isolation, marriage problems to include sexual dis-functions in the bedroom. I am currently in therphy and will continue to be in therapy for sometime. The expenses for my medication and theraphy is expensive and with limited funds, it brings a strain on my family.

    Everyday is a struggle for me. The events that occured over 30 years ago, re-play over and over in my head like a movie. In the summer time and the humity, it brings me back to be victimized outside in the heat. There is no escape.

    I know my pictures are out there and when someone sees them, I get re-victimized.

    If you think child pronography is harmless, please think again.

    John

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  4. Dawn E. Worswick

    @Judi Speir-Crawford @John Chapman @Josie Thanks for speaking out. I know how hard it is to do so! I am too am I a survivor of child sex trafficking VIA COS LA CA. The supreme court is involved in child sex trafficking VIA CPS. Half of the judges are criminals as well as the people who supposedly care for children. I know this because I was raped by people in power and prestige from ages 3-7. The child porn is still available online today. To bad their appendages can’t be identified as evidence!!!! Then you may see the most prominent and well respected in our communities be outed for raping children!!!!

    Ever heard of NAMBLA????? A pedophile organization with many prominent actors, polititions, and community leaders in the growing list of child RAPERS!!!!! Yes, it’s true!

    We live in a sick, sick world and this decision is just more proof to that fact. By itself it may not mean much but together with ALL the other proven evidence judges try to gag from families and their children as to the abuses in their courts and to the children themselves by predators…. it is obvious! WHEN WILL YOU STAND UP AGAINST THESE CRIMINALS???? We must DO it NOW!!!!!
    —–

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