Issue Of Restitution Raised In Virginia Child Sexual Abuse Law | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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

Ruth Rendell Dies, Pioneered The Psychological Thriller

The British mystery writer was known for her Inspector Wexford series and in her later years became active in Labour Party politics. NPR's Petra Mayer has this remembrance.
NPR

'Bourbon Empire' Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey

A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They're just one example of a slew of "carefully cultivated myths" created by the bourbon industry.
NPR

The Republican Presidential Field Just Got More Diverse. So What?

Two more candidates got in on the Republican side Monday, including Ben Carson, who is black, and Carly Fiorina. It's the most diverse GOP field anyone can remember. But will it make a difference?
NPR

People's Republic Of Uber: Driving For Connections In China

Uber is becoming more popular in China, but many drivers say they don't do it for the money. They say they like the human connection and the freedom.

Leave a Comment

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