New York Times Accused of Disclosing Identity of Penn State Victim


The New York Times generally does not publish the names of sex crime victims. The newspaper’s public editor, Arthur Brisbane, says a Nov. 22 article about a boy in the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State contained biographical details that effectively identified him for anyone who knows how to search the Web, according to critics and the boy's lawyer.

Times editors said they understood that the story was sensitive and discussed it carefully before deciding to publish it. They concluded that it was important to report on the consequences of the crimes that Sandusky is accused of and that the biographical details of “Victim 1” needed to be included. The article dealt with an auto accident the boy was in, his subsequent recovery and his athletic success not long after — biographical elements that had drawn local news coverage at the time. David Newhouse, editor of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., criticized The Times, writing that his paper knew Victim 1's identity but had withheld details to protect it. He wrote that his newspaper has learned that other news organizations used the details in The Times's article to discover Victim 1's identity.

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