Supreme Court to decide when child porn victims can collect restitution

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WASHINGTON -- A woman whose childhood rapes by her uncle were captured on camera and widely traded on the Internet wants the Supreme Court to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view the brutal images on their computers.

The case being argued at the Supreme Court on Wednesday involves a Texas man who pleaded guilty to having images of children engaged in sex acts on his computer. Doyle Randall Paroline is appealing an order holding him responsible for the full amount of losses, nearly $3.4 million, suffered by the woman known as Amy. Of the several hundred incriminating images on Paroline's computer, just two were of Amy.

Advocates for child pornography victims say that holding defendants liable for the entire amount of losses better reflects the ongoing harm that victims suffer each time someone views the images online. The threat of a large financial judgment, coupled with a prison term, also might deter some people from looking at the images in the first place, the advocates say.

"The threat that a person in the child pornography market may well bear the entire cost of the harm done to the victim, even if they are a 'minor player,' is likely to be a large deterrent, especially when the harm done typically runs into the millions for a victim's lifetime of care," said Marci Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University. Hamilton wrote a brief in the case on behalf of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

The money is intended to cover the cost of her psychological care, lost income and attorneys' fees.

Shooter wanted murder-suicide: William Dresser, who shot his wife in the chest in a Carson City, Nev., hospital on Sunday, told police he was trying to carry out a murder-suicide because the woman was paralyzed and didn't want to live, authorities said. Dresser, 88, was arrested Sunday after firing one shot with small-caliber semi-automatic handgun that struck his wife in the chest at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said. Dresser reportedly told police that he had brought two bullets for her and two for himself, but the gun jammed after his first shot. Immediately afterward, Dresser "was crying and mumbled words to the effect of, 'I did not accomplish my goal,' " the investigating officer wrote in a probable cause statement. The woman's name and age were not immediately released.

Student shot on Widener campus: A gunman shot a college student sitting in the parking lot of Widener University's athletic center Monday, but officials said the campus was secure, even as they warned students to remain inside as police searched across the Chester for the shooter. Chester police said the student was shot once in the side by an unknown gunman around 8:45 p.m. Monday and he called 911 himself. The victim, who wasn't identified, was listed in critical, but stable condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center this morning after undergoing surgery Monday night, the hospital said. Dan Hanson, a spokesman for the university, said this morning that "all indications are this was not a random act of violence."

Sister echoes apology: Terri Chung, the sister of American missionary Kenneth Bae, detained for more than a year in North Korea, echoed her brother's apology to the nation for crimes he committed and his plea to the U.S. government to ramp up efforts to secure his release. In a statement released Monday after Bae gave a brief news conference in North Korea, Chung of Edmonds, Wash., said, "We understand that Kenneth has been convicted of crimes under DPRK laws. Our family sincerely apologizes on Kenneth's behalf."

Hails withdrawal of invite: The United States on Monday welcomed UN chief Ban Ki-moon's decision to rescind his invitation to Iran to attend an international conference on Syria this week, saying it hoped the move would refocus attention on the goals of the meeting. Secretary of State John Kerry is to attend the conference, which is actually being held in the Swiss town of Montreux, on Wednesday.

Announces blight clearance plan: Bill Pulte, an heir to one of the nation's leading construction companies, has come forward with a plan to help Detroit destroy and clear abandoned buildings in one of its most forsaken neighborhoods. The nonprofit Detroit Blight Authority announced plans Monday to clear 35 blocks in the city's far-west Brightmoor neighborhood as a step toward reviving the area. Pulte, who heads the group, is grandson of PulteGroup Inc. founder William Pulte. Pulte said the group is seeking government approvals to start clearing part of the 35-block site and hopes to finish that phase by June 1.

Christie administration pushes back: Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration on Monday pushed back against a claim that Superstorm Sandy relief funding was withheld from a severely flooded city because its Democratic mayor wouldn't sign off on a politically connected real estate venture. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno strongly denied Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer's claims as "false" and "illogical" on Monday, the day before Christie's second-term inauguration. And Marc Ferzan, executive director of the Governor's Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, told reporters in a conference call that Hoboken has been treated no differently than other cities with respect to storm relief funds.

Cheesy Skillets recalled: About 1.77 million pounds of Kraft Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Singles Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac are being recalled. They contain hydrolyzed soy protein and dried soy sauce. Those ingredients were not listed on some labels. The products, made by Truitt Brothers Inc. in East Bernstadt, Ky., have expiration dates of March 2 -Oct. 23 on them. They were sent to Kraft Foods distribution centers and retailers worldwide between May 2013 and January. Consumers with questions can call the Kraft Foods consumer relations center at 800-396-5512.

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