WashingtonSenator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today joined Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to introduce the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act.

The bill creates an effective, balanced restitution process for victims of child pornography that also responds to the Supreme Court’s decision in Paroline v. United States. Feinstein earlier signed onto a 'friend of the court' brief in the Paroline case in support of the child pornography victim in that case, "Amy," who was seeking to recover the full amount of her losses.

“Amy” and “Vicky” were victims in two of the most widely distributed child pornography series in the world. The Amy and Vicky Act does three things that reflect the nature of these crimes:

  • It considers the total harm to the victim, including from individuals who may not yet have been identified, in fashioning a restitution award;
  • It requires real and timely restitution; and
  • It allows defendants who have contributed to the same victim’s harm to spread the restitution cost among themselves.

Other cosponsors of the bipartisan legislation include Senators John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

In a letter of support for the legislation, Amy wrote, “After all this time and all the hearings and appeals and the Supreme Court, I definitely agree that restitution needs improvement and hopefully this bill, the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Restitution Improvement Act of 2014, can finally make restitution happen for all victims of this horrible crime.”

In a separate letter of support, Vicky wrote, “I sincerely hope that Congress will take the time to create some guidelines for restitution of child pornography possession and distribution that will protect the victim and enable them to receive full compensation.”

Professor Paul Cassell, who argued the case for Amy before the Supreme Court for the University of Utah Appellate Clinic, said, “Victims of child pornography crimes deserve full restitution from criminals who have harmed them, and this bill will make sure that happens.”

A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here and the bill text can be found here.

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