WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Issue Of Restitution Raised In Virginia Child Sexual Abuse Law

Play associated audio

Virginia passed a new law against child sexual abuse and pornography last year, but some question whether the state's prosecutors are going after offenders for restitution, or if victims even know they have the right to demand it.

Before the state law took effect, child sexual abuse victims who amassed large counseling and other bills had to relive their ordeal in civil suit courtroom battles, and convince a court of their right to have the abuser pay for their suffering.

Camille Cooper, with the National Association to Protect Children, says although the law was a huge win for victims, there's no easy way to determine if prosecutors are pursuing civil damages on the victims' behalf. And since child pornography is a growing crime, she says it's essential to use restitution as a deterrent.

"It appears that the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission collects a lot of statistics related to the courts and related to sentencing, and they do collect information on fines and restitution, but there's no way to figure out whether restitution is being awarded to child pornography victims in these cases across Virginia," she says.

The issue was brought to light this week when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a victim who filed nearly 200 briefs to collect restitution did, in fact, have that right. What's most unfortunate, says Cooper, is that the Justice Department represented the offender and opposed the victim's right to collect.

NPR

Writing The Wicked Ways Of The 'Worst. Person. Ever.'

Raymond Gunt is profane, rude, heartless and truly the Worst. Person. Ever. Author Douglas Coupland says he's not exactly sure how the character, with no redeeming qualities, came into his mind.
NPR

Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone?

The giant retailer says it's adding a new line of organic food that's at least 25 percent cheaper. But a large-scale production and supply of organic food likely can't be achieved overnight.
NPR

Obama Adds Malaysia To His Asia Itinerary

Obama travels to Malaysia next week, where the government is under fire for the handling of a missing airliner. NPR's Wade Goodwyn talks to Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations.
NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.