The woman, now in her twenties, lives in relative anonymity on the West Coast, but to child pornography collectors worldwide she will always be known as “Vicky,” a little girl raped by her father in a series of videos illegally disseminated online thousands of times during more than a decade.
Now the woman and a small but growing number of other child pornography victims are seeking restitution from those who collected or traded pictures and videos depicting their abuse, filing claims for damages against convicted child pornographers in Massachusetts and around the country. In court papers, victims describe living with the knowledge that their images can never be cleansed from the Internet.
“Many people somewhere are watching the most terrifying moments of my life and taking grotesque pleasure in them,” the woman said in court statement provided by her Seattle attorney, Carol Hepburn. “They are being entertained by my shame and pain.”
Since 2008, six federal child pornography cases in Massachusetts have resulted in defendants being ordered to pay restitution, according to the US attorney’s office in Boston.
The amounts range between $2,000 and $2.5 million, and more than a dozen local cases are pending as courts across the country grapple with questions about whether victims deserve restitution and, if so, how much.