Sandusky Trial: Alleged Victims Will Be Forced to Use Their Real Names During Testimony
Earlier this week, Judge John Cleland ruled that the alleged victims in the child sex abuse trial involving Jerry Sandusky would not be allowed to use pseudonyms.
So they must use their real names when testifying during the trial, which is set to begin Monday morning with opening statements at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Numerous media outlets and websites, including StateCollege.com, usually do not identify people without their permission who say they were sexually abused.
"Arguably any victim of any crime would prefer not to appear in court, not to be subjected to cross-examination, not to have his or her credibility evaluated by a jury — not to put his name and reputation at stake," Cleland wrote Monday in his ruling.
"But we ask citizens to do that every day in courts across the nation."
Even so, Cleland said he and the lawyers involved in the trial will to their best to protect the personal information of the witnesses.
Kristen Houser, a State College native who is vice president for communications and development of Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), was hoping for a different ruling from the judge.
"We already know the majority of the sexual assault victims don't report," she said. "Offenders are serious in nature – you don't test the waters, decide you don't like committing rape and get back on the straight and narrow."
Houser said victims who have suffered through extremely disturbing events throughout their childhood can suffer even more damage by having their names revealed by numerous media outlets.
"These are real people with real lives that you're messing with, so it's really high stakes," she said. "We need to look at it through the eyes of a child."
Penn State previously donated $1.5 million from bowl revenues to PCAR and doled out another $1.1 million in May for its new Center for the Protection of Children in Hershey.
Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, faces 52 charges he abused 10 boys over a 15-year period. He maintains his innocence.