Victim Uses Namesake Law to Sue Exploiters
(CN) - A child pornography victim is using a law named after her to demand $150,000 from each person who downloaded and traded images of her being sexually abused as a child through an online black market known as the "darknet."
Suing as Jane Doe, formerly known as Masha Allen, the victim, now 20, claims she was repeatedly raped and sexually abused as a child by her then-adoptive father, who filmed the brutal attacks and distributed them online.
She says Matthew Alan Mancuso adopted her from Russia at age 5 "for the purpose of sexually abusing her and using her to create child pornography."
"Over the next five years, Mancuso created hundreds of photographs and videos depicting his sexual abuse of plaintiff, which he distributed and traded with others for illegal images of other children being sexually abused and exploited," Doe claims in her federal lawsuit in Philadelphia.
"Those images still circulate today," she says, and "are among the most widely distributed illegal images of child sexual abuse known to law enforcement."
She wants to hold perpetrators accountable under Masha's Law, a provision of the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act named after her.
Masha's Law tripled the civil penalties from $50,000 to $150,000 for anyone who downloads child pornography from the internet and allowed victims to sue their exploiters after turning 18.
Doe's images are so widespread that pedophiles and law enforcement know her as "Internet Girl," "Disney World Girl" or "Angeli," she claims.
She claims the defendants "conspired with each other ... to share and distribute these and other illegal child-abuse images, largely by means of the so-called 'darknet,' a collection of secure websites, online chatrooms, bulletin-board sites, and peer-to-peer file-sharing computer networks that communicate via the Internet but are specifically designed to conceal the participants' personal identifying information."
"In effect, defendants collectively participated in and helped to maintain a black market that incentivized and facilitated the copying, trading, and distribution of illegal images of child sexual abuse, including images of plaintiff, all in violation of the statutes for which Masha's Law creates a private right of action," Doe claims.
Each time prosecutors file criminal charges against someone for illegally possessing her images, they notify Doe about the defendant's name; Doe has allegedly received "well over 2,000 such notices."
She says Masha's Law serves as a deterrent and compensates victims by allowing them to recover at least $150,000 in damages from each defendant.
"The effects of defendants' conduct go far beyond the abuse itself, or even the knowledge - painful as it is - that thousands of people have been convicted of illegally possessing those images. At least as sinister and disturbing to plaintiff is the knowledge that the vast majority of the participants in such illegal distribution networks are not caught," Doe says. (Emphasis in original.)
"Defendants' profound violation of her privacy means that every stranger's glance, held too long, is a source of humiliation and pain," the lawsuit states. "On any given day, the man standing behind plaintiff in line at the grocery store could be someone who has masturbated to images of her being bound and raped as a child. She must live with this knowledge solely because defendants, and men like them who have not yet been brought to justice, decided to create millions of copies of Mancuso's images and trade them online for their perverted enjoyment."
Doe demands $150,000 from Mancuso and others who pleaded guilty or were otherwise convicted of receiving and/or distributing illegal images of her as a child.
Defendants include Alan Hesketh, Richard Carino, George Eliot Kabacy, Dan W. Joachim, Ranier Gerow, Douglas Michael Stum, Richard Scheiring, Charles Lindauer, Joseph Marcus, William George Gammon, Stephen Jabbour, Albert Noah Abrams and Mayer Finkelstein.