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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Protecting Victims’ Identities

May 13, 2010

Sex crime victims suffer serious harm when there is unwanted public disclosure of information related to their victimization.  This is true regardless of whether that disclosure happens in a criminal prosecution, a civil case, or through other means.  For this reason, NCVLI is participating in a case in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals involving a civil suit brought by four women against Joe Francis and the film company “Girls Gone Wild” (GGW).  GGW filmed the women, who were then minors, in a variety of ways, including with their breasts exposed.  GGW distributed these images worldwide in its DVD’s.  The fact that this highly publicized case potentially involves disclosing fundamentally private information, the women desire to use pseudonyms during litigation to protect their rights to privacy and dignity.  NCVLI submitted a brief in support of the women, arguing that the victims’ rights to privacy require the use of pseudonyms.  The case is still pending in the appellate court.