Prosecutor To Blog: Take Down That Transcript
We've now gotten two comments regarding an alleged State Attorney's Office investigation into JAABlog's posting of the Levenson-Reidy transcript in which the name of the 16-year-old sex crime victim appeared.
In Florida, it's a second-degree misdemeanor to publish the name of the victim of a sex offense (I include the text of the law below). So rumors are swirling about criminal charges and lawsuits.
To get to the bottom of it, I called Bill Gelin, JAABlog's former impresario. He said that prosecutor Chuck Morton called him yesterday and told him about the statute and asked him to take down the transcript. He also said that Morton indicated that the SAO wasn't going in the direction of filing any charges.
Because Gelin no longer has a password or any other way to access JAABlog, he phoned fellow JAAB founder Craig Esquenazi, who immediately took the transcript down from the blog.
I would be stunned if the SAO took the extreme action of filing charges in this thing. It was a mistake and clearly wasn't done with any intent to harm. Further, it was tucked into an official court transcript that should have been redacted by the agency that leaked it (hmmm, I wonder what agency leaked it). And on top of that, the 16-year-old who was involved engaged in consensual sex and is a star high school football player, making it a bit less egregious if you ask me. If you want to see what I think of the possibility of a civil lawsuit, read my comment here (scroll down).
Also, an alert: I just found the transcript linked on another blog. It goes to the original JAABlog document, which is still readable. JAABlog -- don't just delete the link, delete the document as well, if you know what I mean.
As for my earlier question, "Is JAABlog Dead?", I believe the answer is a resounding "yes," at least the JAABlog that we know. I'm anxiously awaiting Gelin's next move and will report on it as soon as possible.
Oh, here's that law:
794.03 Unlawful to publish or broadcast information identifying sexual offense victim.--No person shall print, publish, or broadcast, or cause or allow to be printed, published, or broadcast, in any instrument of mass communication the name, address, or other identifying fact or information of the victim of any sexual offense within this chapter. Such identifying information is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). An offense under this section shall constitute a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.