For the most part, judges have been reluctant to allow pseudonyms, because theyre afraid of violating this very fundamental tenet of judicial openness, said Jayne Ressler, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who has studied the question of anonymity in courts. Ressler said many states, including California, readily grant anonymity to rape victims in criminal proceedings, but those protectionsdo not necessarilycarry over into civil trials. In a similar case, a 27-year-old woman also using the pseudonym Jane Doefiled a lawsuit two years ago in Washington,D.C., accusing Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon Cabrera of rape. A federal court judge ruled that she could remain anonymous only until the trial. The case was dismissed at her request late last year. The tendency of civil court judgesto favoropenness when it comes to rape claims frustrates Ressler and others, such as Meg Garvin,executive director of theNational Crime Victim Law Institute. Allowing a woman to go through trial as a Jane Doe does little to reduce a courts transparency, they said,while exposing her identity harms her and discourages future victims of sexual assault from coming forward. The name doesnt matter. Whats important is what happened. Did the man rape this woman? Ressler said. go right hereThe speed with which information now spreadsthrough social media raises the stakes.
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