Judge To Decide If Suspended Cop’s Sexual Assault Accusers Can Remain Anonymous
Should the women accusing a suspended Ashley police officer of sexual assault be allowed to remain anonymous in their lawsuit against him?
A federal judge will soon decide.
When the federal suit was filed last month, the women were named in court papers only as “R. Doe” and “S. Doe.”
U.S. District Judge James M. Munley quickly issued an order forcing the attorneys for the alleged victims to “show cause” why they should be allowed to proceed anonymously. He noted anonymity is “not expressly permitted” in federal court except for “exceptional cases.”
Attorneys for the accusers claim this case meets the criteria for anonymity.
Suspended officer Mark Icker, 29, of Dickson City, is accused of pressuring two women into performing oral sex on him to avoid arrest while working in Ashley. He also is accused of pulling down a third woman’s shirt and groping her after stopping her for allegedly driving under the influence.
Naming the women in court documents would bring them “a swarm of unwanted attention” and force them to “relive the trauma of sexual assault,” attorney Theron Solomon wrote in court papers.
He claims naming the alleged victims would discourage past and future victims from coming forward. Solomon noted “S. Doe,” who was sexually assaulted first, didn’t come forward until “R. Doe” had the “strength and resolve“ to come forward.
“There is no legitimate public interest in the identities of the women who were raped,” Solomon wrote.
Icker, who also is suspended from jobs in Sugar Notch and Jessup, was first charged on Dec. 20 when he surrendered to face charges for an incident that supposedly occurred on the evening of Dec. 9 into Dec. 10 in which he pressured a woman to give him oral sex in his cruiser in a borough park. Two other women then came forward against him.
Icker was jailed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for several weeks before posting bail.
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