If you’ve been anywhere near Facebook or Twitter , you’re probably aware that there is a case working its way through the courts that accuses Donald Trump raping a 13-year-old girl in 1994. For months, people have wondered why this case isn’t getting any attention in the press, even now that Trump faces an actual court date: a Dec. 16 status conference with the judge, the Huffington Post reports. The allegations aren’t entirely implausible on their face. The accuser says Trump raped her repeatedly at parties thrown by since-convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was known to throw wild parties with young women and girls. Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served part of an 18-year sentence.
Trump has acknowledged that he knows Epstein. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,’’ Trump told New York magazine. The lawsuit includes affidavits from two anonymous women who say they were witnesses. Yet there’s been little coverage of the case. To accuse someone in print of forcibly raping a child is about as serious a charge as can be made. To do that with an anonymous accuser would be an extraordinary step, putting the journalist’s reputation on the line. To go forward with an anonymous source shifts responsibility from the accuser to the reporter. If the person is on the record, the reporter can argue that he or she is reporting what the person is saying, and people are free to believe her or not. Giving anonymity suggests that a journalist has investigated this person and these charges, and find them sufficiently credible to bring them forward without a name attached. After the Rolling Stone fiasco, that requires an extreme amount of confidence in the source.