Child Porn Victim Can Sue Anonymously

New Jersey Law Journal

A victim of child pornography who filed a civil suit against her perpetrator has received approval from a Camden federal judge to proceed under a pseudonym and to withhold her real name and address from the defendant.

The plaintiff must disclose her name and address but may designate that information "Attorney's Eyes Only," U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio ruled Wednesday in Doe v. Oshrin. The plaintiff's concerns that her identity would "be spread among pedophiles and child molesters" who would "conceivably attempt to stalk or otherwise revictimize her" are sufficient to outweigh the public's interest in open judicial proceedings, Donio ruled.

Donio said the plaintiff was entitled to proceed under a pseudonym because she established a fear of severe harm, and that the fear was reasonable. The judge then found the fear of severe harm outweighed the public's interest in open judicial proceedings. Donio found that was the case after examining factors that included the extent to which the litigant's identity has been kept confidential, the magnitude of public interest in maintaining confidentiality, the level of public interest in access to the litigants' identities, and whether the litigant's status as a public figure creates a particularly strong interest in the litigant's identity.

Donio said the plaintiff asserted that disclosure of her identity would result in her continued embarrassment and victimization, and found that making her name public "may inhibit plaintiff's willingness to pursue her claims."

Plaintiff counsel Alexander Linzer, of the Marsh Law Firm in New York…agreed to a discovery confidentiality order calling for disclosure of the plaintiff's name and address to Oshrin's attorney, who is barred from sharing it with his client.

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