The issue of criminal restitution in child pornography cases was first raised a year ago in Connecticut, when a federal judge ruled that a man found in possession of child pornography must pay $200,000 in damages to one of the children featured in the materials, even though the man did not take the pictures in question.
The child is now a twenty year old woman called “Amy.” That case settled for $130,000 before the judge made his final ruling, but Amy is going after anyone she can find with images of her in their child pornography collections.
Federal judges nationwide are now forced to decide if a person found with abusive images is responsible for harm to the subject, and if so, how much they should pay in restitution. These cases have been made possible by the Crime Rights Act of 2004, which set up a system of notifying victims when someone was caught with a pornographic image of them.
In Florida, two different courts have ordered restitution totaling more than $3.5 million to Amy, but other Florida courts have awarded only nominal amounts or nothing at all. At least one of the awards has been appealed. Read more about Amy’s story and its effect on child pornography cases at New legal issue: Payment for child porn victims.