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.

WAMU 88.5

Berlin Wall Brought To University Of Virginia With 'Kings Of Freedom'

A massive piece of the Berlin Wall was recently delivered to the campus of the University of Virginia, adorned with a famous mural by German graffiti artist Dennis Kaun.

NPR

Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.
NPR

Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

Fans and foes want to know whether the Affordable Care Act is meeting its goals. But, for good reasons, there are no clear answers yet.
WAMU 88.5

Capital Bikeshare Supplier Bought, Reopening Door To Expansion

Bixi, the company that supplies bicycles and bike stations to the Capital Bikeshare program, has been rescued from bankruptcy. But does that mean the bike sharing will resume expansion in our area?

Leave a Comment

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