Congressional Fix for Paroline Restitution Issue
Congress used its lame duck session to finalize a long-discussed Paroline fix in the form of an amendment to federal restitution statutes called the "Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018." President Trump, as reported in this press release, on Friday signed this legislation into law. Senator Orrin Hatch, who played a leading role in getting this enacted, released this press statement celebrating and explaining this new legislation:
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican and President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, released the following statement after the President signed the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act into law. Senator Hatch introduced the legislation alongside Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). This bill recognizes the unique kind of harm caused by child pornography and requires restitution in a manner that will support victims.
“I’m thrilled the President has signed the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Act into law. This is a momentous day and many years in the making.” Hatch said. “This bipartisan legislation will provide meaningful assistance for child pornography victims to support their recovery and allow them to reclaim their lives. I am proud of this legislation and look forward to seeing it change the world for good.” The legislation establishes more relevant standards for child pornography victims who seek restitution from defendants and gives victims the alternative of a one-time fixed compensation payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund. The bill also allows victims access to the images depicting them, which can be important for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, and treatment.
The bill passed in the Senate by unanimous consent in January. With the help of Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the House sponsor of the bill, and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the House of Representatives passed an amended version of the bill by unanimous consent. In November, the Senate passed the amended bill by unanimous consent, and ... was signed by the President into law.
The bill is named after victims depicted in some of the most widely circulated child pornography series in the world. “Amy,” “Vicky,” and “Andy” all strongly support the bill.
The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act includes the following provisions:
Findings that focus on the unique nature of child pornography crime and how it harms victims
A more relevant and predictable definition of “full amount of a victim’s losses”
Restitution: --- Child pornography production: victims receive full amount of their total losses; ----Child pornography trafficking: victims receive from each defendant a minimum of $3,000
Compensation: --- Victims of child pornography trafficking are entitled to receive a one-time payment of $35,000 in defined monetary assistance (which is indexed to inflation) from a Child Pornography Victims Reserve (CPVR) within the federal Crime Victims Fund (CVF); --- Caps fees for attorneys representing a victim seeking defined monetary assistance at 15%; --- The court must assess defendants in child pornography cases to contribute to the CPVR: up to $17,000 for possession, up to $35,000 for distribution, and up to $50,000 for production crimes; --- The CPVR will be capped at $10 million
Victims of child pornography trafficking will enjoy the same priority in restitution payments as victims in other restitution statutes
Child pornography victims have equal rights with criminal defendants to review the child pornography depicting them at a government facility or court for the purposes of furnishing expert testimony
The Department of Justice must deliver a report to Congress within two years after passage about the Act’s implementation including an assessment of the funding levels for the Child Pornography Victims Reserve