A New York judge had ordered that the anonymous plaintiff either publicly identify himself or drop his claim.
A multimillion-dollar sexual assault lawsuit against actor Kevin Spacey will likely be dismissed after the plaintiff refused to publicly disclose his identity.
According to The New York Times, a federal judge in New York had earlier ordered the anonymous plaintiff to disclose his identity to Spacey’s lawyers.
And then, this month, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled that the accuser would have to identify himself publicly if he wished to take the case to trial.
“Even this Court’s decision itself on this issue has prompted multiple news reports in all forms of media, both nationally and internationally,” C.D.’s attorneys wrote. “The sudden unwanted attention that revelation of his identity will cause is simply too much for him to bear.”
Writing in a letter, the lawyers said they expect C.D. to be removed from the case. However, C.D.’s attorneys say they are planning to appeal Kaplan’s ruling.
Yahoo! News notes that C.D. was suing Spacey alongside actor Anthony Rapp.
Rapp, adds Yahoo!, was the first person to publicly accuse Spacey of sexual harassment. According to his lawsuit, Rapp says that Spacey made “unwanted sexual advances” toward him at Spacey’s home in 1986.
Rapp was only 14 years old at the time.
C.D., similarly, alleges that he met Spacey during an acting class in the early 1980s. The actor allegedly invited C.D. to his apartment several years later, when C.D. was still a minor, and performed nonconsensual sexual acts on him.
Spacey’s attorneys said that C.D. would have to be publicly identified so that they could interview eyewitnesses and gather evidence to either corroborate or refute the man’s claims.
Kaplan agreed, observing that C.D. is now in his fifties and made a deliberate choice to level “serious charges” against Spacey.
“Though CD brings allegations relating to alleged sexual abuse as a minor, he now is an adult in his 50s who has chosen to level serious charges against a defendant in the public eye,” Kaplan wrote. “Fairness requires that he be prepared to stand behind his charges publicly.”
C.D.’s attorneys say they will continue the case with Rapp as a plaintiff, but are planning to appeal Kaplan’s ruling against C.D., too.
Jayne S. Ressler, an associate professor of law at the Brooklyn Law School, told The New York Times that judges across the country have increasingly struggled to balance sexual assault victims’ desire for privacy with the judiciary’s presumption of openness, as well as accused persons’ rights to defend themselves.
“It’s the idea of balancing an open court system with the idea of protecting someone’s right to seek relief,” Ressler told the Times.
Some victim advocates have said that forcing people to reveal their real names after enduring rape or sexual assault could cause others to refrain from speaking justice.
“The risk of being publicly identified is a huge deterrent to coming forward for many survivors of sexual violence,” Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network spokesperson said Erinn Robinson told The New York Times. “Decisions in these cases should always be made with a trauma-informed and victim-centered understanding of the impact this can have on survivors’ healing.”