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.
That is a sign of strong support for helping child pornography victims and for this bill as an effective way to do it.
More than 20 years ago, Congress said that defendants in child sexual exploitation cases must pay restitution to cover all of their victims’ losses.
These children’s lives are shattered before they even begin and they need help to put the pieces back together.
The current restitution statute was enacted before the Internet and last year the Supreme Court, in Paroline v. United States, construed it in a way that does not work for most child pornography victims.
This crime is unique because, as the Court put it, every viewing of child pornography is a repetition of the victim’s abuse.
The challenge today, in the Internet age, is how to implement Congress’ directive for full victim restitution when their victimization never ends.
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.
Mr. Chairman, this bill is named for Amy and Vicky, courageous women who are the victims in two of the most widely viewed child pornography series in the world.
Amy is a Pennsylvania resident and Vicky lives in Washington state and all four of their home-state Senators are original co-sponsors of this bill.
Amy’s House member, Rep. Matt Cartwright, has introduced the same legislation in the other body.
Amy’s case went before the Supreme Court last year and my staff worked with her legal team to develop this legislation.
These women, and so many other victims, know that the initial abuse is only the beginning.
The trafficking in images of their abuse keeps the abuse going even as they try to seek restitution to get on with their lives.
Amy and Vicky personally support this bill as a good way to begin tackling this challenging problem.
This bill has been endorsed by victim advocacy groups such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.
In my own state, the Utah Coalition Against Pornography and the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic are enthusiastic supporters.
Last year, I received a letter endorsing the bill signed by the Utah Attorney General and his colleagues in 42 other states, both Republicans and Democrats.
I want to thank Senator Schumer for being such a committed partner in this effort.
Even before the Supreme Court’s decision in Paroline last year, our offices began collaborating on ways to step in and help.
The senior Senator from New York has been a champion for crime victims for many years, and I look forward to working with him to enact this legislation into law.
Mr. Chairman, we have received valuable input from Senate colleagues, lawyers who specialize in this field, advocacy groups, and the Department of Justice.
We look forward to making any appropriate final improvements to this bill before what I hope will be overwhelming support on the Senate floor.
Once again, thank you for moving this bill forward.
Watch Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee Meeting
Discussion of the AVA begins at 34:30