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Witholding Victims' Names

Posted: Mar 12, 2011 12:04 PM by Sarah Hill and Robert Kessler
Updated: Mar 12, 2011 12:08 PM

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In the beginning of October, KOMU brought you the story about a lawsuit against True North formerly known as the shelter.

Staff members accused True North's former director of touching them inappropriately.

During the coverage of that story, KOMU did not name the accusers and you might have wondered why.

At the time of the story, our reporter was working with limited information as the True North board would not release the names of the accusers and then-director Voltmer could not be reached for comment.

We now know the names of the accusers.

Nancy Gause and Tracie Lawson both claim Voltmer touched them inappropriately.

News organizations routinely withold the names of rape victims in stories.

But this story was different.

"In this case we didn't have the names of the accusers, that's why we didn't run them. But it doesn't mean we wouldn't in some cases. We typically don't run the names of victims of sexual crimes, but we often will use the names of accusers in cases like this, it's just a matter of determining case by case."

"We've got to go with news when we have news and sometimes it's not perfect. This is certainly a case where perfection would have demanded you have the names of the accusers as you go on air, but as we learn in this business pretty rapidly it's not always perfect, you go with what you have."

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