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Lawyers debate ethics, legality of releasing names of rape accusers in court




Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at the Ritz Carlton on September 26, 2016 in White Plains, New York.
Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks addresses the media during the New York Knicks Media Day at the Ritz Carlton on September 26, 2016 in White Plains, New York.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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A woman who has anonymously accused NBA player Derrick Rose of sexually assaulting her in Los Angeles three years ago will have her name made public in court.

A federal judge ruled Monday that the woman, who filed suit under the name ‘Jane Doe,’ that her name would be put on record in the courtroom. “The public does, of course, have some interest in [her] true identity, especially in light of the publicity surrounding this action,” U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald wrote in his ruling. “The public has an equally strong interest, however, in encouraging victims of sexual assault to bring claims against their assailants.”

It’s not uncommon for plaintiffs to file complaints anonymously, and in the past judges have allowed certain people in certain types of cases to remain unidentified during trial. But keeping the accusers’ name secret is difficult, especially considering how fast information spreads and that the Internet isn’t necessarily bound by the same rules as major news organizations, which usually don’t release the names of rape accusers. In this case, the argument is complicated even more by Rose’s celebrity status as a pro athlete. The accuser and her attorneys worry that if her name were made public, Rose’s fans might harass or even threaten her and her family.

The allegations stem from a night in August 2013 during which the accuser says Rose and two of his friends drugged her, then drove to her apartment after she left and had sex with her while she was incapacitated. Rose and the other two men say they did have sex, but that it was consensual.

Guests: 

William Weinberg, criminal defense lawyer based in Irvine, California

Laura Dunn, Esq., victims’ rights attorney and executive director of SurvJustice, an organization based in Washington, D.C. advocating justice for survivors of sexual assault