Former NBA Most Valuable Player Derek Rose’s accuser, known only as Jane Doe in court documents, went public last week with her story of the sordid details behind allegations the New York Knicks point guard and two of his friends drugged her, broke into her L.A. apartment and gang-raped her.
In multiple media interviews, the 30-year-old woman expressed comfort in the May court ruling that her identity would remain anonymous during a civil lawsuit in which she’s seeking $21.5 million in damages, citing the struggle to maintain an identity beyond victimhood in such a high-profile case.
Doe told the Associated Press of her family’s knowledge, “They have a sense something’s wrong, but there’s no way I can express to them or explain to them how I feel or what I’m going through. Having to think of alternative ways to communicate that pain is very stressful and it takes a lot out of you.”
Of her decision to tell her version of the alleged rape, Doe added to ThinkProgress, “I think people stay silent because they don’t want to have to deal with everyone finding out, like, hey, this happened to you, now I’m a victim, [cries], now I have to walk around with a ‘damaged’ label, being broken and this and that. You don’t want that. Who can deal with that on top of everything that happened?”
Now, though, Jane Doe may not have that luxury.
According to the AP, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald ruled Tuesday that the identity of Rose’s accuser will not remain anonymous at a trial set to begin Oct. 4 — an apparent reversal from the judge’s remarks four months ago, when Rose’s lawyers argued for the unveiling of Doe’s identity due, in part, to a “sexually suggestive” Instagram feed that “belies her apparent desire for anonymity.”
“Rose appears to suggest that women who publicly portray themselves as ‘sexual’ are less likely to experience embarrassment, humiliation and harassment associated with gang rape,” Fitzgerald said this past May. “Such rhetoric has no place in this Court. No matter how Plaintiff chooses to depict her sexuality on social media, her allegations of rape entitle her to the protections of anonymity.”
Two weeks from the trial, Fitzgerald ruled in favor of revealing Doe’s identity, amid concerns Rose would not receive a fair trial should she remain anonymous. As Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann noted, “Doe remaining anonymous during the trial might lead jurors to mistakenly conclude that her anonymity reflects an opinion by Judge Fitzgerald about whether Rose ought to be found liable.”
There’s an outside chance Doe appeals the ruling, but McCann describes those odds as unlikely. It seems more likely Rose might reach a settlement with Doe before the civil trial begins. Meanwhile, Doe’s identity will remain anonymous until the start of the trial, at which point media outlets will make individual decisions on whether to publicize her name. So, when one of Rose’s lawyers, Mark Baute, revealed the woman’s name in court twice soon after the decision — once after a warning from Fitzgerald — the judge threatened a $1,000 fine for contempt, according to the Associated Press.
While Doe contends she was incapable of consenting to a sexual encounter after drinking vodka, wine and tequila, per reports, Rose and his friends maintain sex between them was consensual, although the former Chicago Bulls star reportedly did not know the definition of “consent” at deposition. Two years after Doe went to L.A. police, the AP reported, no criminal charges have been filed against Rose.
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