Anonymity for rape defendants

Hmm, looks like I might have to review my support for such anonymity:

Al Gore is in more trouble.

The National Enquirer reports in a bombshell story that police have investigated charges from two more female massage therapists who claimed they were abused by Gore.

The allegations come on the heels of an ongoing Portland, Ore., police investigation that reopened after the supermarket tabloid recently revealed accusations by a licensed massage therapist who says Gore groped her four years ago.

Perhaps it really  is true that allegations by one bring more allegations out of the woodwork?

Who knows, if Al really does go down for this I might even change my mind to support such general allegations, rather than the current legal necessity of proving a specific charge at a particular time and place?

6 comments on “Anonymity for rape defendants

  1. On the contrary, those victims of sexual assualt must have the support and infrastructure to believe that they can come forward to make their allegations without fear. This does not mean that a man’s right to anonymity should be waived. Furthermore, if convicted (with all appeals exhausted), the publication of the man’s name would hopefully then give final courage to those victims still scared.

  2. Just a minute, here.

    He’s not been charged with anything, by anybody.

    I’m pretty sure that his name was not released in connection with any of these investigations by anybody in the CJS that’s actually investigating them, or by the courts – it hasn’t even got there yet. His name is out there because his accusers have put it there – I think – correct me if I am wrong in any one of the now-3 cases at issue.

    If the allegations are false, Mr Gore has remedies to recover his good name. But he’s not a ‘defendant’ to anything yet, and so these matters, right now, amount to libel and/or slander if they amount to anything. He has no right to any sort of ‘anonymity’ imposed by an agency of the state. If he goes to law for redress against these various ladies for the infamous allegations they have made against his good name, he has the opportunity to ask the judge for reporting restrictions – but that horse has pretty-much left the barn by now.

    And furthermore – if there is to be no anonymity for actual defendants on these sorts of charges – on the principle that making the name of the defendant public may bring other accusers ‘out of the woodwork’ – then on the same principle, there should be no anonymity for the actual accuser either. After all, making her name public may well bring exculpatory evidence against the defendant ‘out of the woodwork’. For example, that the accuser has a history of making false claims, or that she threatened to ruin the defendant by making a false claim against him.

    The purpose of a criminal trial and its various processes is to try a defendant on a specific charge against a specific set of evidence – not to see whether other accusers can be found for other crimes. That may be a collateral benefit – but it should not be made a primary purpose of the process.

    To give anonymity to the accuser in a given case (for the alleged purpose of encouraging the discovery of other evidence, in other cases) but not to the defendant, is to favour the discovery of incriminating evidence over the discovery of exculpatory evidence. The purpose is the discovery of the truth – not to drum up only such evidence as disfavours the accused.

    There is a lovely whiff of schadenfreude about seeing Mr Gore subject to these accusations, esepcially since they appear to have enough merit on their face to warrant a serious investigation. But that doesn’t mean that he’s not entitled to the presumption of innocence, and of course he’s a fabulously-wealthy and famous man, so the possibility of mutiple grifters is not out of the question. What’s come ‘out of the woodwork’ may be more legitimate, truthful allegations – or it may just-as-well be more people looking for a payoff, for their 15 minutes, or just for their own personal agenda.

    llater,

    llamas

  3. I agree that the publication of the name of the accused may attract more complaints against him. That does not mean that such complaints would be necessarily truthful or valid. And there is a risk of a bandwagon forming, especially with regard to an accused with a high public profile, and/or great personal wealth.

    So in my view, publication should be embargoed until after any subsequent trial. This would mean that both the plaintif and the accused would be in contempt of court if they went to the press.

  4. Don’t know about the States but here in Spain ‘female massage therapist’ has a fairly well defined job description & is well represented in the classifieds in the papers.
    Maybe this should be a trading standards matter….

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