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.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Sept. 2

You can see a selection of Chinese films or meditate on the meaning of the word “axis” at an art exhibition.

NPR

These 5 Crops Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work

Saffron, vanilla, palm oil, cacao and cottonseed oil are still picked by hand in some parts of the world. Sometimes that manual labor shows up in the price of the food; sometimes it doesn't.
NPR

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

A growing grass-roots movement aims to establish paid sick leave in the U.S., enjoying some success at the city and state level. The issue is already playing big in 2014 political races.
NPR

Celebrity Photo Leak Puts Spotlight On The Cloud, And Security

The FBI and Apple are looking into how private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities were stolen, an incident that raises new questions about storing personal data online.

Leave a Comment

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