Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) released the following statement after the bipartisan Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act was signed into law by President Trump:
"Sexual abuse and exploitation of children are indefensible and heinous crimes. This will guarantee access to fair restitution for child pornography victims while holding accountable those who produce, distribute, and possess this exploitative filth," said Senator Toomey. "I am glad Republicans and Democrats came together to pass this bill and got it to the president for his signature."
Senator Toomey has been fighting for restitution for victims of child pornography since 2014, when a Supreme Court decision sharply limited the remedies available to victims under federal law. The case involved a Pennsylvania resident, "Amy," whose childhood was shattered when, at ages eight and nine, her uncle raped her and traded the images over the internet. The Supreme Court ruled that Amy would have to find and individually sue each of the tens of thousands of criminals who viewed the images in order to obtain full restitution for damages-something the Supreme Court acknowledged was not feasible.
The Supreme Court called on Congress to fix the law. After years of efforts, the passage of the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act will allow victims to seek appropriate compensation from any criminal who has possessed or distributed their images, and restitution up to the full amount of the victim's losses from any criminal who produced the images. The act also offers victims a monetary assistance alternative from the Crime Victims Fund-thereby mitigating possible collections issues-and allows victims access to the images depicting them, which child pornography defendants already have access to.
Amy said in a statement: "When I wrote a letter over three and a half years ago supporting the Amy and Vicky Act, I thought the law would be enacted in a heartbeat. That was in 2014 right after the Supreme Court decided my case in Paroline v. United States. Now, over four years later, Congress has finally passed, and President Trump has signed, the AVAA!!! I can't thank you enough for fighting for us, for being our voice, for standing up for us.
"We were silenced for so long and it just feels amazing to be heard and to actually create change for others in the future. Thank you for making it easier for us to rebuild our lives. You do not know how much this means to all the victims and survivors out there and we are forever grateful. This kind of trauma just doesn't go away but now you have given hope to current victims and future survivors. Thank you!"
Amy's lawyer, Judge Paul Cassell, lauded Senator Toomey's efforts: "Thanks to Senator Toomey's early leadership on this issue, this bipartisan bill will significantly improve the ability of victims of child pornography and online exploitation to obtain meaningful restitution from the criminals who abuse them."
The bipartisan Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act was introduced by Senators Toomey, Hatch (R-Utah), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cornyn (R-Texas), and Grassley (R-Iowa).