Like our client Amy, Vicky is a victim of child pornography. Vicky’s child sex abuse images and videos are some of the most widely-trafficked in the world. Vicky joined Amy in many of the cases leading up to the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Paroline et. al.. Amy and Vicky met for the first time on the evening before the Supreme Court oral argument in January 2014. Here is Vicky’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision:
I appreciate the Supreme Court’s recognition of the pain and loss suffered by victims and the need for mandatory restitution. This upholds both the victim’s need for compensation and helping the offender realize they have hurt an actual person. The difficult part of this decision is the immense amount of time and work investment that will be required by the victim to collect restitution, without the guarantee that they will ever collect the full amount to be made whole again. With each case in which the victim seeks restitution from someone who has possessed and/or distributed their images, there is an emotional cost just for being involved in the case. It brings up the painful reality of the victim’s situation of never-ending humilation and puts it right in the victim’s face once again.
This decision places on the victim the huge burden of several years of litigation without any promise of closure. This is a dismal prospect because it leaves victims like Amy and myself with the choice between not pursuing restitution (which would not provide us with the help we desperately need to heal) or continuing to have this painful part of our lives in our face on a regular basis for several more years, if not decades. Without any guidelines as to how the district courts will calculate restitution from each offender, I worry that the emotional toll may not be adequately compensated for in the end. I sincerely hope that Congress will take the time to create some guidelines for restitution for victims of child pornography possession and distribution that will protect the victim and enable them to receive full compensation.
Vicky is represented by Seattle lawyer Carol L. Hepburn who joined the Marsh Law Firm in a mutual five year effort seeking just and timely compensation for victims of child pornography.