Miltenberg: “A Kevin Spacey Accuser Tried to Sue Anonymously. A Judge Said No.,” The New York Times


The man said he was 14 years old when he was sexually assaulted by the actor Kevin Spacey in the early 1980s. Last year he filed a lawsuit against Mr. Spacey in which he sought to maintain anonymity, identifying himself in court papers only as “C.D.” Earlier this year the judge in the case, which is being heard in the Southern District in New York, ordered the man’s lawyers to identify him privately to Mr. Spacey’s lawyers. And this month the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, went further: he ruled that C.D. would have to identify himself publicly if he wanted to continue on to trial. The man’s lawyers responded Thursday that he would not, writing that the “sudden unwanted attention that revelation of his identity will cause is simply too much for him to bear.” They said in a letter to the court that they expect him to be removed from the case — which involves another plaintiff, who is using his real name — but suggested that they plan to pursue an appeal. In the #MeToo era, as more people have been turning to civil courts with accounts of sexual assault, judges are increasingly being asked to weigh the strong desire of many accusers to maintain their anonymity against the presumption of openness in the court system and the ability of the accused to defend themselves … Experts say that in the #MeToo era, some courts are becoming more understanding of the high costs sexual assault victims pay personally when they come forward publicly. There is also more acknowledgment that in the modern hyper-connected society, when information spreads widely and quickly online and remains easily searchable for years, there is less chance of privacy once a name becomes public. “There is a sense that your name can live on in perpetuity connected with something terrible, so you have to have a chance without your name being associated with it,” said Andrew Miltenberg, a lawyer who has represented men accused of sexual assault.

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