Music

Woman Suing Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs in ‘Gang Rape’ Lawsuit Can’t Remain Anonymous, Judge Rules

A federal judge ruled Thursday (Feb. 29) that an unnamed woman suing Sean “Diddy” Combs over allegations that he “sex trafficked” and “gang raped” her must reveal her identity as the case moves forward.

The judge acknowledged that disclosing the accuser’s identity “could have a significant impact on her” due to the “graphic and disturbing allegations in this case,” but said the woman had failed to prove that she could proceed anonymously.

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“While the court does not take plaintiff’s concerns lightly, the Court cannot rely on generalized, uncorroborated claims that disclosure would harm plaintiff to justify her anonymity,” Judge Jessica G. L. Clarke wrote.

The judge cited previous lawsuits against Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein in which John Doe and Jane Doe accusers, respectively, had been denied anonymity and said that allowing cases to proceed under a pseudonym in the U.S. court system was “the exception and not the rule.”

The ruling will not take effect immediately; instead, the accuser will not be revealed until after the judge rules on Diddy’s pending motion to dismiss the lawsuit. It’s unclear when that ruling might come. If the case survives, the Jane Doe will be forced to reveal her name.

Thursday’s decision came in one of several abuse cases filed against the hip-hop mogul late last year. In the current case, the unnamed Jane Doe accuser claims that Combs and former Bad Boy Records president Harve Pierre “plied” her with drugs and alcohol before raping her in a Manhattan recording studio when she was a high school junior.

Combs has strongly denied those allegations, saying: “I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth.” Last week, he formally responded to the lawsuit, arguing that that the allegations are “fictional” and violate his constitutional right to due process.

For months, the two sides have wrangled over whether the Jane Doe accuser could proceed anonymously. She argued that the media attention she would face would result in fresh trauma, adding to what she already allegedly suffered. Diddy’s attorneys argued strongly the other way, saying it would be unfair to let his accuser proceed under a pseudonym while his name was dragged through the mud.

On Thursday, the judge sided clearly with Diddy’s argument, ruling that she had failed to show the kind of “particularized harm or current vulnerabilities” that would necessitate such special status.

“Although this case involves highly sensitive allegations and Doe has not publicly revealed her identity, all other factors weigh against Plaintiff’s motion should this case survive Defendants’ dispositive motions,” the judge wrote.

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