Child porn victim surprised by court ruling tossing out $3.4 million judgment

Anthony Kennedy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman whose rape as a child by her uncle was seen in images that were viewed extensively on the Internet says she’s “surprised and confused” by a ruling today from the Supreme Court. That’s according to a statement her lawyer posted online.

The court today tossed out a judgment of nearly $3.4 million — money that was supposed to be paid to the woman by a man whose computer was found to contain two of the images. The court says federal law limits how much money the victims of child porn can collect from people who viewed the material.

The case involved a woman known in court papers by the pseudonym “Amy.” Her losses for psychological care, lost income and attorneys’ fees were assessed based on the ongoing Internet trade and the viewing of images of her being raped when she was 8 and 9 years old.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said lower courts went too far when they said the man who was found to have the images on his computer was responsible for all of the woman’s losses, without determining how much harm he caused her.

A federal judge will now work out what that amount should be.

Advocates for child porn victims argue that holding defendants liable for the entire amount of losses reflects the ongoing harm that victims suffer each time someone views the images online.

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