YOUR VIEW: Naming Alleged Victim Draws Criticism

2 years 6 months 3 weeks ago October 09, 2013 Oct 9, 2013 Wednesday, October 09 2013 Wednesday, October 09, 2013 7:03:00 PM CDT in Your View
By: Taylor Beck & Ellie Coatar, KOMU 8 Producers

COLUMBIA - In September, KOMU 8 News aired a story continuing our coverage of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon.  

In the original report as well as follow-ups, KOMU 8 News made the decision to name the victim on air and online, which frustrated some viewers.

Kelly Suzann Harding expressed her concern on our Facebook page.

"Don't you think it would have been prudent for you all to avoid listing any accusers' names in your article since the police report only identifies the victim by initials? Way to out the alleged victim, KOMU," Harding wrote.

KOMU 8 News content manager Matt Johnson said the victim's name was public knowledge throughout the community.

"A lot of the people we spoke to down in Belle knew the victim, knew about the allegations and so because of that we felt there was no harm to be done by using her name," Johnson said.

KOMU 8 News spoke with the alleged victim back in July when reporters used her name in the stories.

"We also spoke with her on the phone, and she was aware that we were doing several stories on this, and she was also okay with us using her name," Johnson said.

KOMU 8 News did not reveal to the audience that anyone in the newsroom had spoken with the alleged victim at all, which prompted some other viewers to comment on our Facebook page, including Sandra Veltrop.

"You screwed up KOMU, and you've been screwing up more and more lately. And as a result of this, you are going to lose viewers, just like me. And if I was the victim, I would be furious with you. So with that being said, goodbye and good luck," Veltrop wrote.

KOMU 8 News consulted MU professor Sandy Davidson who specializes in this type of law.

"It becomes an ethical question of whether to use a sexual assault or rape victim's name. But, I think it can be empowering if the person as consented and that person's name is used," Davidson said.

Davidson says KOMU 8 News' mistake was a lack of transparency.

"The mistake, I believe was that the station did not tell viewers that indeed she has consented. And, of course, that caused criticism," Davidson said. 

So what do you think? Should we have named the alleged victim? Should we have been more transparent and told our viewers we spoke with the victim beforehand? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Then watch Friday nights at 6 as we report "Your View" of the news.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Mayor Sly James says the city will not hold an election this year... More >>
13 minutes ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 4:50:26 PM CDT in Continuous News
FORT LEONARD WOOD - First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden paid a visit to Thayer Elementary... More >>
49 minutes ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 4:15:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Supreme Court judges have ruled against what some called a tax loophole for doughnut holes.... More >>
1 hour ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 3:58:49 PM CDT in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have approved the creation of a commission to review the University of Missouri System's... More >>
1 hour ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 3:46:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Toddlers have shot seven people in Missouri since 2015, according to a Washington Post analysis. Only Georgia had... More >>
2 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 2:52:00 PM CDT in News
JOPLIN (AP) — A man who left a Joplin hospital against medical advice after he was wounded by police is... More >>
3 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 2:02:59 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A woman who was charged with abandoning her baby in a Manhattan subway station in 2014... More >>
3 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 1:50:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Legislature has voted to override the governor and block a wage hike for home-care... More >>
3 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 1:43:00 PM CDT in News
LIBERTY (AP) — Authorities said that a building has partially collapsed on the historic square in the Kansas City suburb... More >>
3 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 1:39:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - An Illinois man was taken into custody Monday night charged with dismembering a human body. Police arrested... More >>
3 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 1:17:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia bought new billing software designed to make utility bills easier to read. The... More >>
4 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 12:57:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The United Way of Central Missouri's 2016 campaign theme was revealed with a mini parade Tuesday morning.... More >>
4 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 12:23:00 PM CDT in News
BOONVILLE - The Boonville Police Department's new K-9, Vik, passed the certification to be a Police Utility Dog, according to... More >>
6 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 10:18:00 AM CDT in News
WARRENTON, Mo. — A black bear briefly trapped by Missouri wildlife experts clearly has made some tracks across the state... More >>
7 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 9:17:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – A driver was not hurt Tuesday after the car he was driving lost control and landed on top... More >>
8 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 9:03:00 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Police are investigating a Springfield man's death earlier this year as a homicide. The Springfield... More >>
9 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 7:46:57 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Changes to the Columbia city code would require storm shelters in future public schools, joint commissions and fire... More >>
12 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 4:40:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A jury in St. Louis has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million to a... More >>
12 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 4:38:29 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
5pm 67°
6pm 66°
7pm 65°
8pm 62°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:00p
Dr. Phil
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
4:30p
The Cleveland Show
5:00p
American Dad!
5:30p
American Dad!

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
Chicago Med
9:00p
Chicago Fire
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
Containment
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld