The First Circuit held that a distributor of child pornography may be ordered to pay restitution to the child victim portrayed in those images (United States v. Kearney, 672 F.3d 81 (1st Cir. 2012)).
In Kearney, the First Circuit addressed these issues in a child pornography possession and distribution case involving the "Vicky" series. The court first found that "Vicky is plainly a victim of Kearney's crimes" as "[t]he pornography's continued existence causes the child victims continuing harm by haunting the children in years to come." On the probable cause issue, the court held:
We hold that the proximate cause requirement was satisfied here, because Kearney's actions resulted in identifiable losses as outlined in the expert reports and Vicky's victim impact statements. ... We do not suggest that in all instances where there is a victim within the meaning of the statute, the victim is entitled to restitution....The court also upheld the calculation of the restitution amount of $3,800, "which was arrived at by averaging the awards Vicky had received in thirty-three other restitution cases, after discarding the highest and lowest values awarded."