Downloaded Child

Season 15
Episode 1518
Air Date 04/02/14
TV-14

Benson joins SVU on location where six-year-old Maddie teeters near the edge of a balcony, unwilling to come inside. Amaro and Rollins break in and rescue her, only to discover her mom left her there "for two sleeps." They locate her mother, Jenny, in lockup for shoplifting on probation. She expresses deep concern for Maddie, but emphasizes how it's too dangerous to leave her daughter with Gary, her husband (they're separated, not divorced). Despite the blatant case for child neglect, Benson suspects there is more to the story and they question Gary, who's clearly abusive - but only to Jenny. Curious if there's a case for domestic abuse, they pry further into Jenny's life and she reveals her only tool for stopping Gary from hurting her: sex. But even though they're married, it's not consensual. Jenny's a victim of repeated, regular rape.

In order to charge the husband with domestic violence (and trump the child endangerment charge), Amaro and Fin trick Gary into confessing rape, which he believes is legal because he and Jenny are married. While Gary writes up his confession, Benson brings Jenny to a psychological evaluation with Benson's personal therapist, Dr. Lindstrom, and the PTSD symptoms jump off the radar. Jenny reveals childhood memories of sexual abuse as far back as 14, but can't remember anything beyond that. To jog her memory, Fin and Amaro snag old photos from Jenny's mom and find some very inappropriate images of Jenny as a young girl. They run the photos past the FBI and make a huge discovery: Jenny is "Lacy Unknown," a previously unidentified child with scores of images and videos popular with online pedophiles. Barba explains that in order for her to receive retribution, Jenny must identify herself as Lacy Unknown.

When Rollins and Benson perform the gut-wrenching task of showing Jenny photos from the past, it triggers an odd reaction: she recognizes herself, but shuts down when they present the worst photos to her. Moreover, she experiences a serious panic attack once they inform her that all the images exist online. The whole ordeal makes it into Benson's private session with Dr. Lindstrom - interrupted by the sudden arrival of Jenny, who, wild-eyed and in a scary state, offers herself to the therapist. When he and Benson calm her down, she bursts into tears, confused and scared.

They admit Jenny into a private facility for her recovery. Between medication and therapy, she looks and feels better - and surprises Benson and Rollins with a desire to testify at a hearing where a man was convicted of child pornography possession. She gives a stirring speech in the courtroom and the man apologizes both formally and to the tune of $20,000 in restitution. Benson shows her over 700 additional cases from the past and present that could have the same result, but Jenny, not wanting to devote herself to the past, rejects the opportunity. Lucky for her, Barba zeroes in on the perfect case - a millionaire who shared Jenny's images - and pressures him into a four million dollar deal. Jenny accepts the money, retrieves Maddie from Social Services and the two go off to start a new life...

Reflecting on the moment, Benson meets up with Cassidy. The once-sunny pair chats about their recent funk and come to a tough conclusion. Although they love each other, perhaps they're not the right people for each other anymore. He kisses her on the head, and they walk on - together, but apart.

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