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File:Cindy Crawford (porn star).jpgWhen Amy was a little girl, her uncle made her famous in the worst way: as a star in the netherworld of child pornography. Photographs and videos known as "the Misty series" depicting her abuse have circulated on the internet for more than 10 years, and often turn up in the collections of those arrested for possession of illegal images.

Now, with the help of an inventive lawyer, the young woman known as Amy — real name changed — is fighting back. She is demanding that everyone convicted of possessing even a single Misty image pay her damages until her total claim of $3.4 million has been met.

Some experts argue that forcing payment from people who do not produce such images but only possess them goes too far. The issue is part of a larger debate over fairness in sentencing sex offenders. For years, lawmakers have reasoned that virtually no punishment was too severe for such criminals; even statutory limits on sentencing were often exceeded.

Now some courts have begun to push back, saying these heavy sentences are improper, and a new emphasis has arisen on making sex offenders pay monetary damages for their crimes.

Amy's uncle is now in prison, but she is regularly reminded of his abuse whenever the government notifies her that her photos have turned up in yet another prosecution. Over 800 of the notices have arrived at Amy's home since 2005.

Those notices disturb Amy when they arrive, but Marsh saw an opportunity: he could demand restitution. He had Amy write a victim-impact statement and hired a psychologist to evaluate her. Economists developed a tally of damages and the total came to $3,367,854.

Cindy Crawford - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2002Cindy CrawfordLanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the criminal division at the Justice Department urged judges not to let "practical and administrative challenges" to the restitution issue "drive a policy position that directly or indirectly suggests that possession of child porn is a victimless crime."

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