Naming a sexual assault victim on Twitter is foul and should be penalized (and has happened before), but what should happen if it’s the victim naming her attackers?
A 17-year-old girl in Kentucky is about to find out. She admittedly defied a gag order and went public with her attackers’ names on Twitter.
And she now faces charges for doing so. But should she?
Savannah Dietrich and her parents want people to know her name and to know what’s been happening to her.
The teen told the Courier-Journal.com that she was frustrated by the lenient plea bargain that two teens received for pleading guilty to sexually assaulting her and sharing pictures of the incident, so she shared their names on Twitter.
Dietrich said she was sexually assaulted by two teen boys she knew in August 2011. She had been drinking at a gathering, she said, and became unconscious. Months later she learned that pictures of the incident had been taken and shared with others.“For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t go out in public places,” she told the newspaper, as her father, Michael, and attorneys sat nearby. “You just sit there and wonder, who saw (the pictures), who knows?”
Dietrich and her parents went to Louisville Metro Police, who eventually charged the two juvenile defendants with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and misdemeanor voyeurism, according information contained in the court motion filed by the newspaper. The teens pleaded guilty to those charges in late June, though Dietrich and her family say they were unaware of the plea bargain and recommended sentence until just before it was announced in court — and were upset with what they felt was a slap on the wrist for the attackers.
Following the plea, [Judge] McDonald admonished everyone involved not to speak to anyone about what had happened in the court or about the crime in general, according to Dietrich.
So after the hearing, Savannah posted their names in a tweet, adding “there you go, lock me up.” And added, “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.” The Twitter account is now closed.
The attorneys for the boys have asked a Jefferson District Court judge to hold her in contempt saying she violated the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing and the court’s order not to speak of it.
What does she face if convicted? A potential sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a $500 fine.
What do you think of this case?
(Handcuffs image from Shutterstock)