January 05, 2005
Judge Bars Disclosure Of Sex Abuse Victims' Names
Accusers Cannot Be Named During Trial, Order Says
January 5, 2005 [Associated Press]
BOSTON -- Acting at the request of prosecutors, a judge issued an order Tuesday barring the news media from disseminating the names of the alleged victims in the upcoming child rape trial of defrocked priest Paul Shanley.
Superior Court Judge Charles Spurlock's order bars the publication of the names of Shanley's accusers, one of whom is expected to testify at his trial on child rape charges later this month and has spoken publicly in the past about his allegations.
The name of that man has been published repeatedly by The Associated Press and other news organizations since 2002, when he filed a civil lawsuit against Shanley and gave numerous newspaper and television interviews.
Spurlock cited a state law dating back to the 1980s that says that court or police records containing the name of victims in criminal cases involving rape or assault with intent to rape "shall be withheld from public inspection, except with the consent of a justice" of the court where the case is being prosecuted.
The law says it is unlawful to "publish, disseminate or otherwise disclose the name of any individual identified as an alleged victim" of rape or attempted rape.
It was not immediately known how often - if ever - the law has been invoked to bar the media from naming alleged victims in rape cases.
The AP plans to appeal the judge's order.
The news agency has a policy of not identifying rape victims if they wish to remain anonymous. Two alleged victims who have been involved in the criminal case against Shanley have been publicly identified since 2002; one gave his first interviews about his allegations soon after Shanley was arrested in California.
The man's name was used in initial versions of a story that moved on the AP wire Tuesday, but was later removed after the judge's order was issued.
Ken Chandler, editorial director of the Boston Herald, said the newspaper also planned to comply with the judge's order and also would appeal it. The Boston Globe did not use the name of the man in its early Wednesday edition.
The Middlesex District Attorney's office, which sought the court order, declined to comment.
"I think the court order and the statute speak for themselves," spokeswoman Emily LaGrassa said.
Posted by Nancy at January 5, 2005 06:57 AM