When children are exploited through pornography, the trauma caused by the horrific ordeal is an ongoing struggle into adulthood. This is especially true when the evidence of the abuse is still available on the Internet, making it much more difficult for victims of child pornography to move on with their lives.
While we cannot undo what has already been done, we can offer some measure of compensation to these victims. This is why I am sponsoring Senate Bill 806, a bill that would allow victims of child pornography to seek a minimum of $150,000 in damages from the person convicted of the crime.
Specifically, any such victim younger than 14 could sue the perpetrator (or even the possessor of the pornography) up until three years after whatever course of action happens later: conviction of the perpetrator; the victim or parents being notified of the pornographic material; or the victim turning 18. The victim could recover actual damages (at least $150,000) and court costs.
Sexually exploiting a child is one of the worst crimes imaginable. When children go through something so traumatic, the emotional scars will likely never completely heal. People who destroy the innocence of a child should pay the price, not only by going to prison, but also by compensating their young victims for the harm they have caused. If SB 806 becomes law, they will.
Senate Bill 806 received a public hearing this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Once the committee passes the bill, it will be ready to head to the floor for debate before the entire Senate.
On a related note, Thursday (2/4) the Senate debated and gave first-round approval to a bill that would bring much-needed regulation to the smut shops scattered along Missouri’s highways. This vote brings us one step closer to a goal that has been many years in the making.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Bartle bill would allow child pornography victims to recover damages
In his latest report, Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Jackson County, explains his new bill, which would allow child pornography victims to sue for damages: