REDDING, Calif. (CN) – Against the advice of its own attorney, the Redding Record Searchlight, a Scripps newspaper, published the name of a 7-year-old boy who was near death when sheriff’s deputies rescued him from a week of torture, though it knew the boy’s name was confidential and should have been protected, the boy’s guardian at litem claims in Shasta County Court.
The defendants “acted with a conscious and willful disregard for the health and safety of the plaintiff and in direct contradiction to plaintiff’s counsel’s instructions, as well as instructions of their own counsel,” according to the complaint.
Guardian ad litem Derrick Riske sued E.W. Scripps Co., Scripps Media dba the Record Searchlight, its publisher Shanna Cannon, its editor Silas Lyons, the reporter who write the articles, Jim Schultz; and the Anderson Valley Post and its publisher and editor George Winship.
Rachel Ann Limon, 27, and her brother, Gregory Limon, 22, were ordered in March this year to stand trial for the alleged beating of the 7-year-old boy, the Record-Searchlight reported. According to the March 19 story, a sheriff’s deputy was “visibly upset” when she described the boy’s injuries, which included “10 broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and liver, two broken vertebra, numerous bruises, scratches and gouges, and at least one broken arm.”
In his complaint, Riske cites four previous articles in the Record-Searchlight, the fourth of which, on Jan. 19, included the boy’s “full name and the fact that he was in foster care.” The other three articles, on Dec. 13, 15 and 30, 2009, made the boy identifiable by referring to “the circumstances of [his] case, making reference to his nickname, ‘Junior,'” according to the complaint.
The March 19 article cited above also contains the boy’s full name.
Defendants “knew that said disclosure would be revealed to its subscribers in writing, over the Internet, including but not limited to You Tube, all of which created worldwide exposure,” the complaint states.
As a result, the guardian says, the boy “suffered severe emotional distress which has caused severe and permanent injuries to his person, including but not limited to mental anguish, shock, humiliation, feelings of helplessness and desperation.”
The guardian says the privacy invasions and other abuses of publication were so severe that the boy “will be requesting a name change.”
He seeks punitive damages for privacy invasion and gross negligence.
The boy and his guardian are represented by Marc Barulich of Redding.
According to the March 19 report in the Record-Searchlight, Rachel Limon is charged with “attempted murder, torture, aggravated mayhem, child abuse and four related enhancements.” She was boy’s father’s girlfriend, the newspaper reported.
Her brother, Gregory Limon, was charged with “child abuse, being an accessory and obstructing or delaying an officer,” according to the newspaper.
The Limons were arrested on Dec. 11, 2009 and the boy was hospitalized for 2 weeks.