Marsh Law Firm – Supporting Child Pornography Victims

Our firm co-sponsored this first-ever gathering of child pornography survivors who created this mandala of hope and resilience. Calling themselves the ‘Phoenix Ten,’ survivors shared their lifelong experiences and organized as a powerful force demanding change.

Survivors banded together to share experiences and create a force to challenge the inadequate responses to the prevalence of child sex abuse images on the Internet. One outcome of the retreat was the establishment of an action group focusing on bringing the collective voice of these victims to the international stage.

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Child sex abuse images matter

James Marsh is probably the USA’s leading lawyer when it comes to representing victims of child sex abuse where an image of the abuse has appeared online. He represented Amy in Amy v. Paroline. It went all the way up to the US Supreme Court. Marsh is quite clear. Victims want every copy or version of an image of their humiliation to be found and deleted as quickly as possible. Pending that, they want access to be restricted to the greatest extent achievable, again as quickly as possible. Knowing this is being done can be crucial to a victim’s prospects of recovery and getting back to any kind of normal life. It is reassuring evidence that the harm done to them is acknowledged, that every practical step is being taken to make things as right as they can be, that justice is being delivered.

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Towards a Global Indicator on Unidentified Victims in Child Sexual Exploitation Material

Ground-breaking research released by INTERPOL and ECPAT International into the online sexual exploitation of children suggests that when online images or videos of child sexual abuse depict boys or very young children, the abuse is more likely to be severe. Other messages from the study:

  • Law enforcement officials face multiple challenges in identifying victims and offenders, even with powerful tools such as the ICSE Database;
  • A significant proportion (61 percent) of analysed series contained images and videos that were both abusive and exploitative in character, and in the vast majority of the analysed series from child modelling sites, both abusive and exploitative material was visible;
  • Accurate determination of core characteristics of victims such as age is a challenge, particularly across ethnic groups;
  • Even though most offenders were male, there are some females involved in the abuse and exploitation of children – and more needs to be understood about this phenomenon; and
  • The phenomenon of ‘youth-produced sexual imagery’ appears to present a challenge to international law enforcement, both in terms of the detection and integration of this imagery with international image databases, and the identification and classification of its victims.

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Battling the Cover-Up Culture of Child Sexual Abuse in Schools

Too many schools are failing in their responsibility to keep children safe from sexual abuse. The doctrine of in loco parentis demands that schools assume the responsibility of the parent to keep a child safe at school. Often, instead of protecting children, schools have been covering up sexual abuse of children by teachers, failing to investigate and report alleged abuse, and allowing teachers to silently leave. Not surprisingly, this allows them to find employment as teachers elsewhere, free to resume their predatory behavior.

This “passing the trash” policy has been well-publicized regarding sports, religious, and fraternal institutions. Schools are where children leave the protection of their parents to learn in a presumptive safe environment. How, and why, are some failing to adequately protect our children?

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Victory in Congress!! House Passes Major Civil Reform for Child Victims 406-3

The House today passed legislation drafted by Senator Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] to require amateur athletics governing bodies like USA Gymnastics and other amateur sports organizations to report sex-abuse allegations immediately to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department.

The bill also reforms Masha's Law found at 18 U.S.C. 2255 by significantly enhancing federal civil remedies for victims of child pornography.

These long-sought critical reforms will empower victims of child pornography to hold offenders responsible not only in criminal court, but in federal civil court as well. Advocates for child pornography victims have been seeking these changes for almost 10 years. We congratulate Congress for passing significant law reform for Olympic and amateur athletes, and victims of child pornography, forced labor trafficking, child sex trafficking, federal sex abuse and interstate prostitution.

NOW IS THE TIME TO PASS THE AVAA! Congress must not and cannot rest until federal criminal restitution reform is finally enacted. Let's build on this victory to pass comprehensive reform for victims of child pornography and online exploitation.

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In Supporting the Gymnastics Victims, Judge Aquilina Got It Right

by Paul CassellRecently the country watched Michigan Judge Rosemarie Aquilina allow crime victims—dozens of them—to testify during the sentencing hearing of Olympics doctor, Larry Nassar. These victims spoke eloquently and emotionally about the terrible harm that Nassar had caused. After hearing from the victims, Judge Aquilina sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison, to be served after completion of an already-imposed 60-year prison term. The lengthy sentence appears to have broad public approval as punishment that fits the crime. But a few legal commentat...

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Senate Passes AVAA by Unanimous Consent

After several sincere but ultimately failed attempts to pass legislation to simplify and streamline child pornography victim restitution in the federal courts, the Senate has once again demonstrated its commitment to children by ratifying the AVAA late last night by unanimous consent. The United States Senate came together in a bi-partisan coalition of 27 cosponsors, 12 Democrats and 15 Republicans, to do the right thing far from the spotlight, rhetoric, or Twitter feeds.

The real challenge remains the House of Representatives which has steadfastly blocked reform for the past four years.

Now is the time for advocates, victims, and their supporters, to encourage the House to quickly consider and pass Senate Bill 2152. Child pornography restitution reform is long overdue. Let's make 2018 the year when victims of childhood sexual abuse and online exploitation get the help and support they need. The Senate's right, left, and everyone in between has spoken decisively. Now it's up to the House to join them.

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The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in Court

During the 28 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child entered into force, it has become the world’s most ratified human rights treaty—with the notable exception of the United States—and a powerful tool for advancing children’s rights. The Convention is the canonical statement of children’s rights, but it is also an enforceable legal instrument being applied around the world to protect children’s rights.

The excellent Child Rights International Network ["CRIN"] launched the CRC in Court case law database in 2009 to highlight important court decisions that quote and discuss the Convention.

This report draws out the ways the CRC has been used around the world to challenge abuses of children’s rights, but also where it has been misunderstood and misapplied by national courts. It addresses the use of the Convention in general, and features more detailed analysis of three of the most cited rights under the Convention and the divergent ways they have been applied and interpreted.

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More and better compensation for victims of child sex abuse

Things are moving on in the USA. People are campaigning to get more and better compensation for victims of child sex abuse that results in images of the abuse being made and distributed over the internet. Well done James Marsh, the brilliant lawyer who will not let this go.

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State and Federal Sexting Laws

This regularly updated fact sheet provides a brief overview and link to each of the state sexting laws.Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. (2015). State Sexting Laws. Cyberbullying Research Center.

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