Prosecutors pursue restitution for child-exploitation victims

Orlando Sentinel

But not everyone agrees on exactly who should be ordered to pay restitution: Should it be limited to the person who produced the pornography, or should people who possess the images be required to pay?

New York attorney James R. Marsh thinks it should be both. He represents a woman, now 21, who goes publicly by the pseudonym "Amy." She is the subject in one of the most actively traded child-pornography series, known as the "Misty series." Amy was 8 years old when she was victimized.

Marsh has made more than 400 requests for restitution for his client since September 2008.

Marsh hired experts ranging from a psychologist to a forensic economist, who put a price tag on the impact the pornography made on Amy. It includes past and future lost wages and future therapy expenses, but does not account for such factors as pain and suffering or emotional damages, he said.

The expert calculation: nearly $3.4 million. That's a global figure, meaning once Amy has received that amount from the combination of all cases, she will stop seeking restitution.

So far, Amy has received about $236,100 from 10 defendants, he said.

Marsh has made multiple requests with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida for restitution for his client. But the office has taken the position that Amy isn't eligible, he said.

Some people, such as Marsh, think child-pornography victims are harmed by both the producers and possessors.

"The victimization of my client goes on because the demand for these images are so great. Because the demand for these images are so great, she will continue to be victimized endlessly," he said.

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