It’s common for sexual abuse victims to worry about exposing their identity when taking their abusers to court. They often fear the negative stigma that comes with abuse and the possibility of retaliation from the defendant. If you need to take action against your abuser, you’re probably wondering if you can keep your identity private during your sex abuse lawsuit.
While there are ways to keep your identity hidden from the public, you’ll almost certainly have to disclose your personal information to the defendant’s counsel before the trial. A sex abuse lawyer from White Law PLLC can offer more information on options for privacy during a trial and take the steps required to keep your name out of the public eye.
Can I Get Permission to Sue Under a Pseudonym?
While the Federal Rules for Civil Procedure states that all parties involved in a civil case must be named, there’s a precedent that may allow you to proceed with your suit under an alias.
According to the precedent set by cases known as Doe v. Stegall and Doe v. Frank, you may be able to sue under a pseudonym if your case requires you to come forward with information of the “utmost intimacy” or if one of the following statements apply:
- You’re suing a government entity
- Your case requires you to reveal your intent to commit a crime
Courts have been known to grant anonymity for the above-mentioned conditions and for other compelling reasons. If using a pseudonym would allow you to proceed with the legal process safely and without intimidation, there’s a good chance that the court will allow you to do so.
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Can I Still Use a Pseudonym If I’ve Already Filed a Complaint?
If you’ve already filed a complaint, you might be wondering if you can still apply to use a pseudonym before your sex abuse lawsuit goes to trial. According to another precedent set by Doe v. Barrow County, a court may grant anonymity even after a complaint has been filed.
This precedent can allow you to keep your identity private even after you’ve filed your initial sex abuse complaint. The only catch is that your case must stay under the court’s jurisdiction for you to keep your identity hidden.
Can My Identity Be Kept Private from the Court During a Sex Abuse Suit?
Unfortunately, using a pseudonym to keep your identity private during a sex abuse lawsuit can only go so far. While a pseudonym can help you hide your identity from the public, you’ll still have to provide your legal name to the court.
While having to expose your identity and come forward about the abuse you experienced can make a trial incredibly invasive and traumatic, getting the justice you deserve can also help you during the healing process. There are also measures that can be taken to reduce the psychological and emotional distress that can come from facing your abuser in the courtroom.
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Do I Have to Face My Abuser in Court?
While you must provide the court with your real identity, you don’t necessarily have to attend the trial and see your abuser in person. That’s because many sex abuse lawsuits settle before they go to court, allowing the victim to avoid direct contact with the defendant.
If your case settles before trial, you won’t have to deal with the emotional trauma that many victims experience when they see their abuser in person. If the defense doesn’t agree to a settlement, you may still be able to avoid seeing your abuser in person.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
You Can Request to Attend the Trial Virtually
Although you won’t be able to keep your identity protected from the court and defense counsel, you can still protect yourself from the trauma of seeing your abuser in the courtroom. Instead of seeing your abuser in person, you may request to attend the trial virtually.
To do so, you’ll be provided a room separate from the courtroom where you can use a video system to participate. You’ll give your testimony from a separate room and won’t have to go through the deeply triggering process of interacting with your abuser directly.
A Sex Abuse Attorney Can Help You Get the Privacy and Protections You Deserve
Using a pseudonym and attending a trial virtually are two measures you can take to protect yourself during a sex abuse lawsuit, but how do you go about taking those measures? Requesting these protections without a lawyer can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you’re focusing on healing from the emotional trauma that your abuse caused.
Fortunately, a sex abuse attorney can handle everything for you. They’ll communicate with the court and make arrangements for you to use a different name and/or attend the trial from a separate room. However, you’ll need to get in touch with an attorney soon.
Getting an early start on your case can help ensure that you get the protections you need and that your suit is filed before the state deadline.
Filing Deadline for Sex Abuse Lawsuits
While it’s important to prioritize your privacy in a sex abuse suit, it’s also essential that your lawsuit is filed in a timely manner. That’s because each state has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time that sexual abuse victims have to take legal action against their abusers.
The amount of time you have to submit a civil suit depends on your state’s filing deadline. To find out how long you have to file, you’ll want to reach out to a sex abuse attorney and schedule a consultation. They’ll be able to answer all your questions and determine how long you have to take action.
If you’re a victim of sexual abuse who hasn’t been able to take legal action in the past due to your state’s filing deadline, you may be pleased to hear that some states are starting to extend their statutes for sex abuse cases.
Contact a sex abuse attorney to find out if your state is planning on opening up its statute of limitations. If your state has plans to extend its filing deadline, a lawyer may be able to help you file a suit in the near future.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Sex Abuse Attorney From Our Firm
Whether you’ve been abused by a member of the clergy, a family member, or another party, taking legal action can help you obtain the justice and compensation you need to begin healing your trauma. At White Law PLLC, we know how important it is for abuse survivors like yourself to keep their identities private during a sex abuse lawsuit.
That’s why our team will do everything they can to protect you from public scrutiny and retaliation. We can also take the actions required to request a separate room and video system if you wish to attend your trial virtually. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your sex abuse case.
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