Derrick Rose accuser to be stripped of anonymity at trial

Author: The Associated Press
Photo Credit: MGN

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A woman accusing NBA star Derrick Rose of rape cannot remain anonymous at her upcoming civil trial, a Los Angeles judge ruled.

Lawyers for the woman, who is identified in court documents as Jane Doe, argued that her privacy should be protected because she is vulnerable and she has already been harassed after her name was leaked.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald said Tuesday that the law was very clear on the issue and he wouldn’t close his courtroom to protect her identity. He said any decision by the news media about whether to name her is a journalistic decision.

The Associated Press typically does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.

The woman sued Rose last year, claiming the former MVP and two of his friends raped her in August 2013 while she was incapacitated after a night of drinking. Rose and the others deny her claims and contend they had consensual sex with her that night.

The 30-year-old college student told the AP that her family knew nothing about her involvement with Rose or the lawsuit seeking $21.5 million and she wanted to keep it that way and avoid the spotlight.

But Rose’s lawyer wanted her name made public and cited interviews and a news teleconference she conducted as Jane Doe last week as a reason to use her real name.

Rose, 27, is one of the NBA’s most prominent, but injury-prone, stars.

He played his first seven seasons in Chicago, winning Rookie of the Year and, in 2011, MVP honors. He is in his first season with the New York Knicks after being traded in the final year of a five-year deal with Chicago that will pay him $21.3 million.

Rose and the woman dated non-exclusively for nearly two years before the alleged rape.

Lawyers for the woman said outside court that they were disappointed she’d lose her anonymity at trial.

Attorney Waukeen McCoy said it was just another way the defense has tried to pressure her to drop the lawsuit, including an attempt to depose her parents.

It’s not unheard of for a plaintiff to be granted anonymity in a sensitive matter, said attorney Doug Mirell, who is not involved in the case.

There are plenty of examples in civil and criminal law where parties or witnesses have been granted anonymity, such as the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, witnesses in mob trials or third parties who were sexual assault victims.

It’s also likely for that protection to later be challenged. In the Rose case, it wasn’t as clear cut that the accuser needed to remain nameless.

“I think the finger, if not the hand, is on the side of the scale that says identify,” Mirell said.

Soon after Fitzgerald ruled on the issue of the woman’s identity, Rose’s attorney, Mark Baute, revealed the woman’s name and was warned by the judge that she would remain anonymous until trial. He had her name struck from the record.

When Baute said her name a second time, Fitzgerald issued a stern rebuke and ordered him to write an explanation of why he shouldn’t be sanctioned $1,000.

“Do not test my patience,” Fitzgerald said.

Baute said it was an accident.

Interest in the case has grown as the Oct. 4 trial nears, especially in light of several high-profile cases of women who say they were raped while incapacitated.

The six-month jail term for ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman sparked a public outcry over the punishment. Bill Cosby is fighting allegations by dozens of women who say he drugged and sexually abused them.

Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper was sentenced to more than 18 years in federal prison in August after he pleaded no contest to charges he drugged and raped women in four states.

There have been no criminal charges in Rose’s case. The woman went to Los Angeles police two years after the incident and so far no evidence has been forwarded to the district attorney’s office for review and possible prosecution.

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