Doe v. Hesketh

Masha was adopted from Russia by Mancuso when she was five years old. During the following five years, Mancuso sexually abused Masha and documented the abuse in photographs and videos, which he distributed online in exchange for media documenting the sexual abuse of other children. Mancuso pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2251(a); the government dropped a charge of possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(4)(B). Mancuso stipulated that the dismissed count could be considered in imposing sentence and agreed to pay “mandatory restitution” under the Victim-Witness Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. 3663, 3663A and 3664, of $200,000 into a trust for Masha’s benefit. In 2013, 10 years after Mancuso’s conviction, Masha filed suit under 18 U.S.C. 2255 (called Masha’s law) against a purported class of defendants, including Mancuso. The Third Circuit reversed dismissal of the case. A restitution award for a criminal offense does not bar a later-filed civil claim under section 2255 based on that same offense. The interests of Masha and the government were not squarely aligned in the criminal proceeding; she had a limited ability to participate in the determination of her restitution and no right to appeal, so application of collateral estoppel would be inequitable and would offend the “deep-rooted historic tradition that everyone should have his own day in court.” View "Doe v. Hesketh" on Justia Law