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Top court agrees to hear child pornography restitution case

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to consider how much victims of child pornography can claim in restitution under a federal law.

The case concerns efforts by a victim, named only as Amy, to seek restitution from Doyle Paroline Of Brownsboro, Texas, who was convicted of possessing child pornography that included two images of Amy.

Amy, now 19, was sexually abused by an uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old. The uncle made images of the abuse that have been widely distributed on the Internet, which is where Paroline acquired them.

The legal question is how much Paroline is required to pay in restitution under the 1994 Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act. Amy said Paroline is liable for the full amount of her injury - such as counseling and loss of future income - while Paroline said he should only be liable for his individual role. Amy has claimed $3.4 million.

A federal court initially denied Amy any restitution in Paroline's case but an appeals court said restitution of the full amount of the loss is required. Paroline asked the Supreme Court to review that finding. Amy's case is one of several similar cases around the country.

Court papers said more than 150 courts have awarded Amy restitution but Paroline's is the only one before the Supreme Court.

Oral arguments and a decision are due in the court's next term, which begins in October and ends in June 2014.

The case is Paroline v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, 12-8561.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Bill Trott)

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