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Judge to review Facebook posts of rape accuser

August 8, 2014

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — A judge has ordered a teen who accused a man of rape to turn over access to her Facebook page, providing another example of social media’s growing use in courtrooms and the resulting privacy concerns.

Judge Robert Billmeier this week agreed to a request from David Stevens-Parker’s defense attorney, and the judge said he will privately review two weeks of Facebook postings for any comments related to the alleged rape before deciding whether any can be used in court.

Defense attorney Andrew Ferencevych said he wants to see if there are any hints that the sex was consensual. Stevens-Parker, 22, was charged with providing the then-16-year-old girl with alcohol before sexually assaulting her in April 2013.

Assistant Prosecutor John Carbonara said Ferencevych cited a state court ruling that allowed a defense attorney to require a victim to submit to an eye exam, but Carbonara argued that ordering the teen to turn over Facebook access was a greater invasion of privacy. He said courts don’t typically order crime victims to turn over information.

If you asked a typical teen whether having an eye examination or giving over Facebook passwords was more of an invasion, “I guarantee 100 percent of them would say to look at your Facebook,” Carbonara said. “That’s the predominant way they communicate to their friends on a lot of issues.”

Carbonara said that the teen victim in the New Jersey case told him she was willing to turn over the information to the judge.

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