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Child pornography victim loses restitution appeal

3-11-2013 Nebraska:

A child pornography victim seeking nearly $1 million in restitution from a Lincoln man caught with pictures of her on his computer in 2010 lost an appeal Monday of the judge's $3,333 award.

In November 2010, a search of Robert Fast's Lincoln address turned up 26 digital images and 23 videos on his computer after Lincoln police investigators discovered them using file-sharing software.

Among them were images of "Vicky," the pseudonym for a woman whose father sexually abused her and filmed the acts when she was a child.

Since then, she has documented $1.2 million in losses from the abuse and distribution of the images, has filed for restitution in more than 200 federal criminal cases across the country, and has collected nearly $272,000 so far, according to Monday's order.

In the Nebraska case, she sought the difference, $952,759.81.

The court ordered Fast to pay $19,863.84, after finding he didn't have to be the one who caused the loss to be liable for them.

But Fast appealed, and the Eighth Circuit found he did have to be the proximate cause and found him liable for Vicky's losses after June 25, 2010, when he began committing the crime.

When Fast's case came back to Lincoln for him to be re-sentenced, the judge reduced the restitution to $3,333 -- $2,500 for medical and psychiatric care and occupational therapy, plus $833 for legal fees and costs.

This time, Vicky appealed.

The government and the defense both argued that, because she wasn't a party to the case, she didn't have standing to appeal.

On Monday, in a split decision, a three-judge appellate court panel agreed and dismissed her appeal.

"Fast did not possess any images of her until June 25, 2010. But she suffered losses before then. … As the district court found, Fast could not have caused -- and thus could not be liable for -- losses before that date," wrote Eighth Circuit Judge Duane Benton of Missouri.

Judge Bobby E. Shepherd of Arkansas, who wrote the dissenting opinion, said he would have remanded the case for the district court to enter a restitution order that reflected the full amount of her losses.

He said each defendant who viewed the images was a cause to the harm because, if no one viewed them, the victim arguably would not have suffered the psychological problems that came with knowing they'd been seen by numerous unknown people.

To date, about 300 defendants have been convicted of possessing images of Vicky, according to a Sixth Circuit order Feb. 27. ..Source.. by LORI PILGER

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