Majority oppose releasing name of St. Paul’s assault victim - 166 participants, 365 responses

Aug 15, 2016

Should the names of sexual assault victims be protected in high-profile civil lawsuits? This question was put to the test when the parents of a freshman at St. Paul’s School who accused senior Owen Labrie of rape filed suit against the school for allegedly ignoring a culture that encouraged upperclassmen to sexually target young girls. On August 15, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should the court release the name of the victim in the St. Paul's sexual assault case?” Subsequent to this discussion, the victim voluntarily released her name in an interview on the TODAY show.

“Should the court release the name of the victim in the St. Paul's sexual assault case?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Participation:

A total of 86% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 14% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 365 responses from 166 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A majority, at 92% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, said the court should not release the name of the victim in the St. Paul’s case.

  • “Why victimize this person again by releasing their name and causing more pain?”
  • “The school should be ashamed of itself for even suggesting it.”
  • “Victims have to live with the trauma already. They don't need the public pointing their fingers at them.”

Yes:  The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 8%, said the court should release the name of the victim in the St. Paul’s case.

  • “The name of anyone who is in a public court should be public.”
  • “If the parents wish to sue, it seems they forfeit their child's privacy rights.”
  • “If you want to sue in a civil suit, there can be no such thing as anonymity.”

Other: As noted above, 14% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • The practicalities of maintaining anonymity: “A leak will come with her name.”
  • The reputation of the school: “That’s crazy. This is such a nice school with a great reputation.”
  • Broader responsibility: “Maybe the adults who knew and didn't do anything should be named and prosecuted.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you think the court should release the name of the victim in the St. Paul’s sexual assault case? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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