A twist in child porn sentences: paying restitution to victim

Aug 15, 2015
Legal
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Every time someone is arrested on federal charges for possessing her image, “Vicky” is notified.

The images are photos and videos of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of a relative when she was 10 and 11, according to a federal court brief. They were made-to-order videos of the rape, sodomy and bondage of her as a child.

Now in her 20s, Vicky can’t escape what happened in her childhood.

“I am living every day with the horrible knowledge that someone somewhere is watching the most terrifying moments in my life and taking grotesque pleasure in them,” Vicky wrote.“I am a victim of the worst kind of exploitation: child porn.”

To protect her identity, The Tampa Tribune is identifying the victim through the pseudonym of Vicky.

The “Vicky” child porn series is popular on the Internet, according to her lawyer, Carol Hepburn, of Seattle. Some perverts specifically collect them. One person even made a “Where Is Vicky Now?” video, using her current Facebook picture, along with the images of her abuse.

Whenever federal authorities arrest someone on child pornography charges who has images of Vicky, they send her a notice.

Six years ago, when Vicky’s family first visited Hepburn, they had two 55-gallon barrels full of notification letters.

Hepburn said she alerted authorities to send the notices to her office instead of to the family. “I got piles of letters every day,” she said. “It’s horrid. Just horrid.”

Among those found with Vicky’s images around the country have been numerous people arrested in the Tampa area. And some of them are being ordered, as part of their sentences, to pay restitution to Vicky and other child pornography victims.

One example: Last week, Peter David Tengerdy was ordered to pay Vicky $5,000, plus another $6,000 to others whose images he possessed.

Tengerdy, 52, was arrested in Sarasota after the FBI traced his activities sharing child pornography on the Internet. He told agents he had been collecting child porn for five years. Tengerdy was also sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

Another of the victims whose pictures Tengerdy had was “Angela,’’who also was abused by a relative.

“He injured the kid with a knife to her throat saying, ‘If you ever tell anybody, these are the people you love that I’m going to kill,’ ’’ said Angela’s lawyer, Marc Lenahan, of Dallas.

TBO

Lenahan estimated the abuse started when Angela was about 5.

Like Vicky’s abuser, Angela’s perpetrator took orders from child pornography consumers who would tell him what they wanted to see him doing to the child.

“It’s the distribution, the marketplace that drove a great portion of” the abuse, Lenahan said.

Angela, who is still a minor, receives notices several times a week that someone has been arrested on federal charges with her images. Charges in state courts don’t lead to notification, Lenahan said, so there’s no way to know how many people have been arrested with her images.

For the girl’s parents, whenever they receive a notice of another arrest, “it’s a punch to the gut every time,” Lenahan said.

“These are really devastating injuries,” Hepburn said. “It’s only been in the last few years that the focus has been on the victims as real people.”

Lives are ruined well beyond the effects of the original trauma.

As the children grow, they live in fear of being recognized and find it difficult or impossible to work in jobs in which they have to deal with the public.

Hepburn said one of her clients works as a restaurant server. One time, a customer said he thought he knew her from somewhere.

The young woman had a “full-on panic attack” and ran into the kitchen hyperventilating, Hepburn said.

“The images that flow from these crimes keep a large number of victims out of the workforce,” Hepburn said.

A therapist who examined Angela wrote that she has trouble trusting people and difficulty tolerating emotional or physical closeness with others. That makes it hard for her to participate in normal adolescent socialization and “makes her increasingly less competent to deal with the world on her own.”

 

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