Today Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden called for the general assembly to pass legislation that would require child pornographers pay damages to their victims.
Today Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden called for the General Assembly to pass legislation that would require child pornographers to pay damages to their victims.
Biden unveiled the details of Senate Bill 158, which would make producers and possessors of child pornography financially liable, and sets money damages of at least $150,000 for victims should they decide to sue.
“This bill is the first legislation in this state that offers a civil remedy for victims of child pornography,” Biden said. “Victims and their families should have the clear legal right and opportunity to obtain financial relief from defendants with the means to pay them.”
The bill, sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson (D-Stanton), also extends the statute of limitations and permits a court to award victims money to cover attorney’s fees.
“This bill won’t cure the damage that using children in such a way causes, but it is an important weapon in our battle against child pornographers because it will hit the people who make and view child porn in the wallet and will reinforce our message that they aren’t welcome in Delaware,” Peterson said.
As far as whether the bill, if passed into law, could be used as a resource for the 103 child victims in the unprecedented Earl Bradley case, we were told it’s possible. Ultimately, it would be up to a court to determine whether a victim could proceed.
“It’s clearly relevant when we’re facing a case like the Bradley case when we have to do everything every day, to make sure that we do everything we can to protect children and if that sometimes entails making changes to the law both civilly and criminally that’s what we’ve done since the moment I got this job, ” Biden said.
Biden says what he and other attorneys general across the country have discovered images of child porn are spread in a “robust” manner through peer to peer file sharing sites such as Gnutella. Biden says the site reports it gets 116,000 requests daily for child pornography through it search engine, and 20,000 images are posted online each week.
Delaware’s child predator task force was created in 2007 to investigate online child exploitation. So far it has conducted 100 investigations, with 70 of them resulting in criminal sentences. It also helped establish new minimum mandatory jail sentences of 2 years for distributing and dealing with child pornography.