United States District Court, D. Minnesota
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
defendant pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in illicit
sexual conduct in foreign places, 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c),
and was sentenced to 120 months' imprisonment. The
government has now moved for restitution. For the reasons
discussed below, the Court grants the government's
request in part: The Court orders the defendant to pay
restitution in the amount of $27, 011.74.
1990 until 2012, Defendant Page, a United States citizen,
taught math and science in various African countries,
including Cameroon from 2007 until 2011. During his time in
Cameroon, according to his plea agreement, Page engaged in
sexual abuse of three minors, including S.A. On October 21,
2015, the government filed an indictment charging Page with
three counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign
places, 18 U.S.C. § 2423(c). On July 25, 2016, Page
pleaded guilty to one count. As part of the plea agreement,
Page admitted to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with the
three minors in Cameroon from 2009 until 2011. On December
21, 2016, the Court sentenced Page to 120 months'
government now seeks $39, 911.74 in restitution for
S.A.'s injuries, which includes $19, 900 for his
family's lost property; $15, 062 for medical treatment
and therapy; and $3, 823.48 for travel expenses. The
government's claim for property damage requires a brief
explanation regarding the laws and culture in Cameroon. In
Cameroon, homosexuality is illegal. Gay men, in particular,
are ostracized and often have a difficult time finding work.
Cameroonians hold this same prejudice against boys who are
sexually abused and against their families. Here, when
individuals in S.A.'s hometown, Yaoundé, Cameroon,
learned of Page's actions, S.A. suffered physical and
verbal abuse from neighbors. Likewise, when S.A. and his
family's landlord learned of Page's action, the
landlord forced S.A.'s family from their home. As a
result, S.A.'s family had to abandon all of their
property and had to sell a piece of land to pay for an
attorney to fight the eviction.
27, 2017, the Court held an evidentiary hearing regarding
restitution and ordered briefing from the parties. In his
papers, Page contests only the property damages and future
medical expenses. For the reasons discussed below, the Court
grants the government's request in part.
parties agree that the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act
(“MVRA”), 18 U.S.C. § 3663A, applies here
and requires that the Court to order restitution. The
district court “has wide discretion in ordering
restitution” under the MVRA. United States v.
DeRosier, 501 F.3d 888, 897 (8th Cir. 2007). The
government bears the burden of proving damages by a
preponderance of the evidence. 18 U.S.C. § 3664(e);
United States v. Young, 272 F.3d 1052, 1056 (8th
argues that the Court should not award the requested property
damages because: (1) the damages are not awardable under the
MVRA; or (2) the government has failed to meet its burden of
proving the damages.
Court concludes that Page should pay for the property damages
resulting from his conduct. The MVRA requires the Court to
order restitution to the victim of the offense. 18 U.S.C.
§ 3663A(a)(1). The MVRA defines “victim”
more broadly than the person who was the target of the crime.
See United States v. Chalupnik, 514 F.3d 748, 753
(8th Cir. 2008). Instead, a victim is any person who is
“directly and proximately harmed as a result of the
commission of an offense.” 18 U.S.C. §
3663A(a)(2). The purpose of imposing mandatory
restitution “is to make victims of crime whole, to
fully compensate these victims for their losses and to
restore these victims to their original state of
well-being.” United States v. Balentine, 569
F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting United States v.
Gordon, 393 F.3d 1044, 1053 (9th Cir. 2004)).
Nonetheless, the offense must have “directly and
proximately caused” the harm. United States v.
Spencer, 700 F.3d 317, 323 (8th Cir. 2012). In other
words, the defendant must have been the but-for cause of the
harm, and the harm must have been reasonably foreseeable.
Page argues that he was not the cause of the property
damages-it was the landlord. “The main inquiry for
causation in restitution cases [is] whether there was an
intervening cause, and, if so, whether this intervening cause
was directly related to the offense conduct.”
United States v. Farish, 535 F.3d 815, 828 (8th Cir.
2008) (Shepherd, C.J., dissenting) (alteration in the
original) (quoting United States v. Hackett, 311
F.3d 989, 992 (9th Cir. 2002)); see also United States v.
Arnold, Civ. No. 16-6152, 2017 WL 2838287, at *2 (10th
Cir. July 3, 2017) (“[I]ntervening causes break the
chain of proximate cause unless they are directly related to
the offensive conduct.”).
case, the family's eviction was directly related to
Page's actions: Without the stigma of being sexually
abused, S.A.'s family would not have been evicted and
would not have lost their property as a result. Similarly,
the eviction was reasonably foreseeable in Cameroon. Thus,
the landlord's actions did not break the causal chain
between Page's crime ...