Page last updated at 06:30 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Child porn damages precedent set

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Images of abuse were heavily encrypted, police said

A British man living in the US has been told by a judge to pay $200,000 (130,000 ) to a woman for possessing an indecent image of her as a child.

The judge said it was the first such criminal case in which someone found possessing illegal images had to pay restitution, despite not creating them.

Briton Alan Hesketh was sentenced to 78 months in prison in October.

"We're dealing with a frontier here," Judge Warren W Eginton was quoted by Associated Press (AP).

'Feeling of revulsion'

Mr Hesketh, of Stonington, Connecticut, was found with more than 2,000 images of child pornography.

Images of the victim as a child were found amid the collection.

"There is a feeling of revulsion about this type of conduct," the judge said.

The defendant's attorney said he would appeal against the decision, saying it was too high and may lead to more claims by other victims of child abuse.

The lawyer representing the victim, however, said there was no difference between the defendant and those who made the images.

"The victim is a victim of sexual exploitation caused by this defendant," Marsh was quoted as saying by AP.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said he hoped the decision would serve to act as a deterrent.

"We think this is a terrific precedent," Mr Allen said. "The photos stay out there forever. Every time they are downloaded, every time they are distributed, the victim in that image is re-victimized."

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