Statement of Senator Orrin G. Hatch Before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Mr. Chairman, thank you for putting the Amy and Vicky Act on the agenda and for bringing it up today. This bill addresses the unique problems that today result in no restitution at all in three-quarters of child pornography cases. It gives judges options for calculating a victim’s losses and for requiring restitution in the unique kinds of child pornography cases that happen most often today. And it relieves a victim of the never-ending burden of chasing defendants across the country for the rest of her life only to recover next to nothing.

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S. 295 / H.R. 595 Explained Section by Section

The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015 is named after “Amy” and “Vicky” who are victims in two of the most widely-distributed child pornography series in the world. In Paroline v. United States, which reviewed Amy’s case, the Supreme Court found that the current child pornography statute, which was enacted in 1994 as part of the Violence Against Women Act, is not well-suited for cases involving child pornography possession and distribution and should be amended to allow victims like Amy and Vicky to recover mandatory restitution. This bill addresses the Supreme Court’s concerns.

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Senator Hatch Introduces the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015 – S. 295

Today I am introducing legislation to help victims of child pornography, one of society’s most heinous crimes. I am joined by 34 Senators on both sides of the aisle. I hope that this legislation will soon become law.

The bill I introduce today will amend the restitution statute so that it works for child pornography victims. It is named for Amy and Vicky, brave women who are the victims in two of the most widely viewed child pornography series in the world. Amy’s case went before the Supreme Court last year and my staff worked with the legal team for these women in developing this bill.

This bill changes the current restitution statute in three important ways so that it works for child pornography victims. First, it gives judges options for determining a victim’s losses and calculating restitution. Second, it gives judges the ability to impose restitution on defendants in different kinds of cases to ensure that victims actually receive meaningful restitution. Third, it shifts the burden of chasing defendants all over the country from victims to defendants who can share the restitution costs with other defendants.

In our system of government, we have the responsibility to pass or change legislation to address issues and problems that Americans face. All the courts could do was confirm that the current restitution statue is no longer suited to help child pornography victims. It is now up to us to do our duty and enact a statute that will.

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Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch Recognizes Need to Make Victims of Child Pornography Whole

Senator Hatch

"I am today introducing legislation to help victims of child pornography receive the restitution that Congress has already said they deserve. The Supreme Court said last year that the current restitution statute, enacted more than 20 years ago, does not work for child pornography victims and this legislation will change that. I am joined by more than 30 Senators on both sides of the aisle including 14 on this committee. Do I have your commitment that under your leadership the Justice Department will aggressively prosecute child pornography and use tools like this legislation to help victims get the restitution they need to put their lives back together?"

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Representatives Cartwright, Marino, DelBene, Reichert Re-Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Create Effective Restitution Process for Victims of Child Pornography

Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17), along with co-leads Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10), Rep. Suzanne DelBene (WA-01), and Rep. David Reichert (WA-08), re-introduced the bipartisan Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015, with the support of 49 House colleagues, to provide an effective restitution process for child pornography victims.

“Victims of child pornography deserve an effective restitution process to help alleviate the suffering they have endured. We must support the victims of these atrocious crimes and ensure that they receive what is entitled to them: full protection and compensation,” Rep. Cartwright said. “It is impossible to measure or understand the psychological harm done by these types of crimes, which is why we need to work together to strengthen the voice of these victims, and help them rebuild their lives. We must also hold any perpetrator accountable.”

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Timeout for the AVA – Why Child Pornography Victims Need this Law

One Mother's Story by Alice

How many people remember when they were a young child being given an innocent "timeout " for something they didn't do or something they did that was wrong? You had to sit in a chair facing a blank wall until a timer bell rang and your punishment was then over. For a victim of child pornography and sexual abuse, the timer never rings and you are left "staring at the blank wall" for life. Even though you didn't do anything you are paying the price.

My daughter is a victim of sexual abuse and child pornography.

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Federal Criminal Restitution for Child Pornography Victims

On April 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision concerning federal criminal restitution for child pornography victims. The case, Paroline v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1710, 188 L. Ed. 2d 714 (2014), attracted 14 amicus briefs supporting a victim named Amy, whose road to the Supreme Court started in 2008.

Victims of child pornography are harmed twice: first, by the sex abuse and sexual assault committed against them and, second, by the subsequent distribution and collection of the images and videos depicting their sexual abuse. The worldwide, ubiquitous circulation of a victim’s child pornography is a never-ending invasion of privacy that is both psychologically traumatizing and emotionally unsettling.

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44 Attorneys General Endorse the AVA

Today, forty four attorneys general endorsed the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2014 and requested that Congress bring the bill to a vote.

Calling the United States Supreme Court decision in Paroline v. United States "counter to the legal opinions of the attorneys general of 35 states and territories, expressed in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to allow full restitution to victims of child pornography," the attorneys general criticized the high court's decision as forcing "victims to pursue a continuous stream of defendants, recovering very little in each case."

The Paroline decision "disincentivizes victims from seeking the resources they need for therapy, medical care, lost wages and other needed services" while protecting "defendants from having to pay substantial costs to those they have harmed."

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Vast Majority of Federal Child Pornography Criminals Pay ZERO Restitution to Victims

The Huffington Post
Despite Congress' longstanding mandate that each and every federal child pornography defendant pay restitution to victims, in reality the vast majority of convicted child pornography criminals pay no restitution at all. New facts present a dismal reality for victims of child rape and sexual assault which results in child pornography.

The United States Sentencing Commission recently compiled some damning statistics about child pornography offenders subject to fines and restitution.

The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act will guarantee that victims receive restitution from every convicted criminal in every case. No longer will victims be relegated to a handful of defendants paying token amounts in just a few dozen cases per year.

Mandatory restitution should be just that—mandatory. Child pornography victims deserve no less than full compensation for their endless online exploitation. Congress must fix the law to restore justice and fairness to a restitution system which has gone seriously awry.

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District Court: Paroline Factors are at Best Difficult and at Worst Impossible to Calculate

United States District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., in one of the first reported cases since the Supreme Court's April 23, 2014 decision in United States v. Paroline, illustrates the growing frustration within the federal courts which are struggling to implement the Court's problematic directive.

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