Should Kuwaiti Student Challenging Title IX Sexual Misconduct Finding Be Pseudonymous,

Yes. Held Chief Judge Beryl Whatell (D.D.C.). In Doe v. American Univ.2019 I found the following: Pseudonymous Litigation Law article.)

The courts are divided on whether student accuseds should be allowed pseudonymously to sue over Title IX findings regarding sexual misconduct. However, outside of Title IX lawsuits for sexual misconduct cases, the names of litigants who are accused are either civil defendants, criminal defendants, or civil litigation plaintiffs. In this case however, the court decided in favor of pseudonymity. It relied heavily, but not exclusively, on the fact that the defendant was Kuwaiti.

The plaintiff’s claim to proceed under a pseudonym still stands, but his residency is now secure [in]Consent of foreign country and defendant to his use pseudonym support, allowing him anonymity. Further consideration will be given as the litigation progresses.

The defendant consented the plaintiff’s motion regarding the interests of the non-moving defendant. The defendant has already obtained the identity and identities of Jane Roe as well as Jane Roe’s students who were involved with the case for sexual assault against the plaintiff. This will ensure that the plaintiff can proceed anonymously and does not hinder the defendant from being able to defend the action. The public interest of disclosing the identity is far outweighed by the increased risk of stigmatization and retaliation that the plaintiff claims he faces back in his homeland.

When weighed against any apparent interest in disclosure, it is clear that the plaintiff’s desire to remain anonymous at an early stage of the litigation outweighs any presumption for open proceedings. See Horowitz v. Peace Corps (D.C. Cir. 2005.'”).

My understanding is that the court was not concerned that plaintiff could be stigmatized simply because he had been found to have sex assaulted another person (which would be highly stigmatizing for most U.S citizens), but that he might face stigma. even if His story was confirmed and all sexual contact was consented to. Also, I don’t believe the court is saying the plaintiff will be subject to criminal penalties in Kuwait. However, I think Kuwaiti law won’t apply to foreign conduct.

It is similar to four cases that I wrote about last month. Courts have permitted parties to keep their identities secret in part due the fact that sexual issues involved in these cases could be stigmatized in religious communities. As with Title IX cases, there is some disagreement about whether or not sexual assault victims should be permitted to continue pseudonymously. The most prominent case in the Eleventh Circuit concerned a Muslim women who claimed that she was raped.

“[C]Ourts often deny the privacy of anonymity for plaintiffs claiming sexual assault. This is even though revealing the identity of the plaintiff may result in her personal embarrassment[.]” … [But]Ms. Doe doesn’t just claim that sexual assault allegations made in this case could cause her “personal embarrassment.” Doe asserts instead that she was raised in a family of “devout Muslims” and her accusations would cause severe harm. [herself]Shame on her family for the cultural/religious practices that she follows.”

This claim was supported by her declaration in which she stated that she sought to go under pseudonym partly because she had “come.”[s]From a strict Muslim family where the under- [their]Cultural beliefs and customs such as a sexual assault could have the potential to cause shame and humiliation. [her] family.” District court mistakenly treated Ms. Doe’s motion only as an allegation of personal embarrassment without considering the social stigma claims or accounting for her actual allegations.

Later cases affirmed the view of another Muslim plaintiff and a Baptist defendant, who were both alleging sexual assault. A case in which the plaintiff was an ex-erotic dancer sought pseudonymity partly because “her parents, devoutly Christian Christians,” also supported this position. In two additional cases, pseudonymity was granted in sexual misconduct cases brought against rabbis. Here, the movants claimed in part, (to paraphrase the motion in the other case), that

The plaintiffs are able to foresee retaliation. [Rabbi]Friends of Freundel and other Orthodox members. The cultural norms of the Orthodox Jewish community forbid its members of speaking poorly of a rabbi—even when that rabbi has committed wrongful acts against the member.

According to The Washington Post and other news media, approximately 10 years ago, … Kesher Israel responded to persistent complaints, concerns, and criticism of [Freundel]It issued a statement to members of its congregation, which is essentially a religious “gag”, ordering congregants to “stop participating in any LashonHara, stop listening to attacks and insinuations, and to disassociate [themselves]From [such slanderous and negative talk about Freundel]Finally, to forcefully respond against Lashon Hara.” against Freundel. {“Lashon Hara” is slanderous, negative talk, which is considered sinful in Judaism.}

How do you feel about the consideration of the religion or community of the litigant in deciding whether pseudonymization should be permitted? This discussion is not strictly related to “cultural defense” debate regarding when a defendant could be considered for criminal guilt or which sentence should he receive.