Last month, the Supreme Court limited the remedies available to victims of child pornography under federal law. The case concerned Pennsylvania resident “Amy,” whose childhood was shattered when, at ages eight and nine, her uncle raped her and then traded the images. The Supreme Court ruled that Amy would have to find each of the tens of thousands of people who have viewed the images in order to obtain full restitution—something the Court acknowledged was not feasible.
The Supreme Court called on Congress to fix the law. Today, Sen. Toomey responded by introducing the “Justice for Amy Act.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a demoralizing setback for victims of child pornography. It perversely disadvantages those most in need of help. Under the Court’s decision, the more a child has been sexually abused, the harder it is for that child to obtain justice,” said Sen. Toomey. “We should help victims of child sexual abuse, not place obstacles in their way. The Supreme Court called on Congress to act. Today, I have responded by introducing a solution: The Justice for Amy Act. Child pornography is a heinous crime with lifelong effects. Its victims deserve nothing less than full compensation for the harm they suffered.”
To help victims of child pornography obtain full restitution, Sen. Toomey’s bill would amend the federal restitution statute to provide that all defendants who produce, traffic, or possess child pornography of a victim are jointly and severally liable for all of that victim’s damages, and may sue one another for contribution. Sen. Toomey’s bill takes the burden off of the child victim, and places it on the child pornographers: Once one defendant is found guilty, he is held liable for the full damages and the burden is on him to sue all other wrongdoers to help pay the restitution award.
Sen. Toomey’s bill has been endorsed by the National Children’s Alliance and Concerned Women for America.