AG Coakley Files Supreme Court Brief Supporting Full Restitution for Victims of Child Pornography
35 Other Attorneys General Join Brief
BOSTON – Asserting that victims of child pornography should be awarded full restitution, Attorney General Martha Coakley joined 35 other attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Paroline vs. Amy Unknown.
“While restitution does not erase the deep effects of child pornography that victims feel their entire lives, it can help them receive the care and services they deserve,” AG Coakley said. “We fight in every case to ensure the victim’s safety and continued care and we believe restitution helps to achieve that goal.”
Filed this week, the brief argues that by enacting the Mandatory Restitution law in 1977, Congress directed the courts to order “full recovery” for the damages suffered by victims of child pornography.
The brief stresses that because the internet has created a larger market place, victims suffer ongoing feelings of helplessness, humiliation and psychological torment. Many require counseling and other treatment throughout their lives. Under federal law, a victim may ask to be compensated for these costs during the trial of someone accused of possessing images of the victim.
Paroline vs. Amy Unknown concerns a victim of child pornography who is seeking restitution for the full amount of her losses without having to undertake the burdens of proving exactly how much of those losses is specifically attributable to each individual defendant.
In the prosecution of Steven Bell and other cases, AG Coakley is seeking restitution under Massachusetts law which is more favorable to victims than federal law for receiving restitution.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson led the filing of the amicus brief. Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming, and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands all joined the brief.