WV joins 22 states in Supreme Court brief seeking restitution fo - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV joins 22 states in Supreme Court brief seeking restitution for the sexually exploited

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Nov. 20 the Mountain State has joined 33 other states and territories in an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in U.S. Supreme Court seeking better restitution for children and adults who have been sexually exploited.

The amicus brief was filed by a bipartisan group of attorneys general, and it asks the U.S. Supreme Court to give full effect to the Crime Victims' Rights Act, which is already on the books to protect victims and ensure they are able to fully recover the costs and economic losses caused by child pornography.

"Children in our state and the rest of the nation should always be protected, and when acts of evil are perpetrated upon them, the court system must be able to require such perpetrators to pay restitution to the victims of their crimes," Morrisey said. "We owe it to the children of West Virginia, and our country as a whole, to make criminals pay if they abuse and/or sexually exploit our youth."

The brief argues that the law passed by Congress mandates district courts order people convicted of child exploitation crimes pay restitution to the victim to cover any costs related to medical or psychological services; physical or occupational therapy or rehabilitation; lost income; transportation, housing or child care costs; attorneys' fees; and any other losses suffered by the victim as a result of the offense.

The brief stems from a case out of the Fifth Circuit, where the Court of Appeals addressed the issue after two district courts reached different conclusions about whether a crime victim was able to be compensated for sexual abuse she suffered as a child. The brief argues the language of the Crime Victims' Rights Act is clear, and that its purpose is to ensure innocent victims of child pornography receive the full restitution they deserve.

The parties to the case will present oral arguments before the Supreme Court in January.