A federal judge on Monday ordered a man convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography to pay about $200,000 in restitution to a woman who was photographed being sexually abused when she was a child.
Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton said his ruling was the first in a criminal case in which someone convicted of possessing illegal images -- but not creating them -- is required to pay restitution.
"We're dealing with a frontier here," Eginton said, but he said judges have discretion with criminal restitution orders.
The case involves Alan Hesketh, a British citizen who was sentenced in October to 78 months in prison for possessing and distributing nearly 2,000 photographs of child pornography. The resident of Stonington, Conn., was a vice president of New York-based Pfizer Inc., the world's biggest drugmaker.
Pictures of the victim as a child being subjected to sexual abuse turned up in Hesketh's collection, according to prosecutors.
"There is a feeling of revulsion about this type of conduct," the judge said.
Hesketh's attorney, Jonathan Einhorn, said he would appeal the restitution order, calling it unreasonable and predicting it would lead to similar claims by other child pornography victims. He said his client had no contact with the woman and argued that defendants should pay restitution only to victims whose injuries they directly caused.
Einhorn said people in other cases who participated in creating pornography have been ordered to pay less restitution than his client.
The woman's attorney, James Marsh, said there is no distinction between Hesketh and people who produce the pornography.
"The victim is a victim of sexual exploitation caused by this defendant," Marsh said.
Authorities said that from June 2006 to May 2007, Hesketh used the Internet to exchange hundreds of images of child pornography and to engage in online "chats" about the sexual molestation of children. Prosecutors said many of the images showed minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct with adults and with other minors.
Hesketh was arrested in March 2008 and was fired from his job in New London as a Pfizer vice president and global patent director.
Prosecutors said they submitted images in the case to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which has a database to help authorities identify victims.
Prosecutors then notified the woman, now 19. She said she was 8 or 9 when she was subjected to sexual abuse by a relative for the purpose of producing child pornography that was requested by a pedophile in another state, according to court papers filed by prosecutors.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.