January 07, 2005

Media challenge order not to publish names of priest sex-abuse victims

Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press

Jan. 7, 2005 -- A Superior Court judge ordered Boston-area news media Tuesday not to publish the names of the accusers of defrocked priest Paul Shanley.

One of the alleged victims, who prosecutors say might refuse to testify if he is publicly identified, waived his right to privacy when he consented to previous news photos and stories that disclosed his identity, an attorney for Boston media organizations reportedly told a judge Thursday during a hearing to challenge the do-not-publish order.

Lawyers for The Boston Globe , the Boston Herald and the Associated Press challenged the order by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Charles Spurlock during a hearing before Judge Stephen Neel, who is scheduled to preside over Shanley's trial later this month.

"This individual in fact waived his privacy interest. His photograph appeared all over the place with his consent. He made a conscious decision to put his name out there," Robert A. Bertsche, representing the Globe and the AP, said during Thursday's hearing, according to AP.

Neel had not ruled on the media's challenge as of Friday. He did, however, vacate a portion of Spurlock's order instructing the media to retract the already-published names as soon as possible.

Posted by kshaw at January 7, 2005 01:48 PM