Defendant in Child Pornography Case Ordered to Pay Restitution to Child Depicted in One of His Images
Ricky Lee Daniel was convicted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia of possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B) and 2256(8)(A). United States v. McDaniel, 631 F.3d 1204 (2011). The district court ordered the defendant to pay restitution to a child depicted in one of the images, and defendant appealed.
A jury convicted McDaniel of possession of child pornography, finding that he possessed 600 or more images of child pornography. The district court sentenced him to 60 months of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $12,700.00 restitution to “Vicky,” a child depicted in one of the images. McDaniel appealed, asking whether 18 U.S.C. § 2259 requires a showing of proximate cause, and if so, whether the district court clearly erred in ordering restitution.
The victim, “Vicky”, had been notified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when it was discovered that defendant’s child pornography collection included an image of her being raped and abused by her father when she was 10 years old.
The Court of Appeals held that, “Like the producers and distributors of child pornography, the possessors of child pornography victimize the children depicted within. The end users of child pornography enable and support the continued production of child pornography. They provide the economic incentive for the creation and distribution of the pornography, and the end users violate the child’s privacy by possessing their image. All of these harms stem directly from an individual’s possession of child abuse images.” McDaniel at 1208.
The court found that the dissemination of child pornography certainly exacerbated the victim’s harm by a continuing invasion of privacy and by providing the very market that led to the creation of the images in the first place. The court also found that § 2259 did require proximate causation and that defendant’s conduct proximately caused the victim’s losses. Each notification added to the trauma and intensified the victim’s emotional issues. The Court of Appeals held that the district court did not err in finding that “Vicky” was a victim of defendant’s possession of child pornography and that she was eligible for restitution.
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