Posted Jul 20, 2007 11:04 pm CDT
At least for now, a New York appellate court has foiled an attempt to publish the name of a then-teenage girl who was allegedly sexually abused by an actor backstage after a Broadway show, to solicit information about others she might have accused in the past.
A state appeals court in New York has refused to order the trial judge to lift a limited gag order preventing the defendant from doing so, reports the Associated Press. Any need for the “fishing expedition” sought by the defendant, who apparently has no evidence that the victim did accuse anyone else, the court said, is outweighed by the public policy of encouraging sex crimes to be reported by preventing alleged victims from being publicly pilloried for making accusations.
James Barbour, 40, who played the beast in Walt Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” allegedly committed the crime in 2001. A then-15-year-old aspiring actress starring in a high school production of “Jane Eyre” went with her parents to see him in the musical, and then met with him alone backstage where he is charged with having touched her sexually. He has pleaded not guilty.
His lawyer, Ronald P. Fischetti, says he plans to appeal yesterday’s ruling.