Ballplayer’s Rape Accuser|Will Remain Anonymous

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A woman accusing Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon of rape can do so anonymously, at least until the case goes to trial, a federal judge ruled.
     Jane Doe, a 27-year-old D.C. resident, claims that the Dominican ballplayer, whose full name is Alfredo Simon Cabrera, anally raped her in his hotel room after the two had drinks at a nightclub.
     The alleged assault occurred on the night of April 27, 2013, while the Reds were in town for a series against the Washington Nationals.
     Simon moved to have Doe stop using a pseudonym after her attorney made several public statements.
     U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton shielded Doe’s anonymity Wednesday after considering five factors.
     “The plaintiff’s allegations include graphic details of the alleged incident, including multiple references to the plaintiff’s genitalia and her hospital examination resulting from the alleged assault and battery,” Walton wrote. “Because of the alleged sexual acts of the defendant and consequences of his purported actions, this case is one of a ‘sensitive and highly personal nature’ for the plaintiff. This factor, therefore, weighs in favor of anonymity.”
     Although Simon pointed out that Doe need not include such graphic details in her complaint, Walton cited the “strong [public] interest in protecting the identities of sexual assault victims so that other victims will not be deferred from reporting such crimes.”
     Another factor that weighs in favor of shielding Doe’s anonymity is the risk of future physical or mental harm that disclosure of her identity could cause.
     “Were the court to force the plaintiff to reveal her identity, the court would risk undermining the psychological treatment the plaintiff has already undergone since the alleged incident and potentially retard the progress the plaintiff has made,” the 17-page opinion states.
     It is possible that Doe’s name becoming public would subject her to harassment, investigation or humiliation on the Internet, the court found.
     The alleged victim’s age and Simon’s position as a private figure weigh against use of the pseudonym, but Walton still found that the scales tipped for Doe’s privacy.
     The use of a pseudonym by Simon’s accuser is entirely reasonable, at least for pretrial purposes, despite Simon’s arguments that anonymity will hinder his discovery efforts, according to the ruling.
     “It is difficult for the court to see how disclosure of the plaintiff’s identity would bring out unidentified third-party witnesses that are currently lying in wait,” Walton wrote. “The defendant’s position is made even more tenuous by his own investigative efforts. Without the plaintiff’s identity publicly disclosed, the defendant has already identify [sic] potential third-party witnesses using private investigators.”
     While Walton admitted “that the plaintiff, her attorney, and others operating on her behalf, are attempting to try her case in the media or gain a tactical advantage through their public statements,” he concluded that “counsel for the defendant has publicly responded to those statements.”
     “Thus, whatever prejudice may have resulted from the public disclosures by the plaintiff’s counsel and others has been offset by the statements by the defendant’s counsel,” the ruling continues.
     Simon’s accuser may remain anonymous unless the case proceeds to trial, at which time she will be required to reveal her identity, the court concluded.

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