Florida A&M University is asking the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee to allow use of an anonymous rape victim's full name during trial. In response, the victim’s attorney has written a letter to Florida senators and representatives asking them to investigate FAMU’s attempts to expose the victim’s identity.
"Our interpretation of the action by Florida A&M University in the litigation is that they are trying to intimidate her to drop her claim by pushing an issue that they know is very sensitive, which is her anonymity," said Dolce.
Michael Dolce is a trial lawyer based in Palm Beach. He is representing the plaintiff in the case against Florida A&M University. Dolce says in his line of work he’s never come across a situation where a rape victim’s name was needed.
"In every single case I’ve ever handled and every case I’m aware of every Title IX case I’m aware of across the country, this has never happened. I’ve never known a university to pursue this litigation tactic," said Dolce.
The university is now appealing--prompting the victim’s attorney, Michael Dolce to write to the Florida Legislature.
"I would like the Florida legislature to determine who made the decision at FAMU to instigate this ongoing effort to reveal the identity of a rape victim and hold that person accountable. I would like them to direct FAMU to drop their appeal so we can go to trial and conduct that trial with my client’s anonymity intact," said Dolce.
Dolce says his client is not suing FAMU for the sexual assault, just for its response, or lack of.
“What we sued Florida A&M University for was violation of Title IX, for failing to protect her after the fact, when she came back to campus authorities, 'I’ve been raped and I don’t want to be around this guy, I don’t want him in my classes, I don’t want him in my clubs, I don’t want him in the library. I want to be protected.' They failed to do that. That’s why they got sued for Title IX violation," said Dolce.
The statement goes on to detail six positions the university has added. One is a Title IX coordinator, Carrie Gavin, who Dolce says disagreed with FAMU’s stance.
“FAMU’s own Title IX Coordinator has acknowledged under oath in this case that it’s expected mental health harm would result to a rape trauma survivor who wants to maintain their anonymity. Then we don’t understand why FAMU in terms of their legal position aren’t following that dictate," explained Dolce.
In Dolce’s letter to state senators and Representatives he says all efforts should be made to ensure that his client and future victims can report sex crimes without fear that FAMU or other state institutions will try to strip their privacy as rape survivors.
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