Doe v. Roe
In a civil action, a court can permit the minor defendants to use pseudonyms, to protect the identities of the minor children from public exposure. Allegedly, the defendant boys sexually assaulted the plaintiff, a 7-year-old boy, at gunpoint and were prosecuted in Juvenile Court. The plaintiff and his parents sued the defendants and one of their parents. The defendants moved for permission to use pseudonyms. Pursuant to the Connecticut Appellate Court's 2006 decision in Vargas v. Doe, "The most compelling situations [for granting a motion to proceed anonymously] involve matters which are highly sensitive, such as social stigmatization, real danger of physical harm, or where the injury litigated against would occur as a result of the disclosure of the [party's] identity." Practice Book §11-20A provides, "[T]he judicial authority may order that files, affidavits, documents, or other materials on file or lodged with the court or in connection with a court proceeding be sealed or their disclosure limited only if the judicial authority concludes that such order is necessary to preserve an interest which is determined to override the public's interest in viewing such materials." The court found that a protected interest is associated with the confidentiality of juvenile cases. Based on the interest in protecting children and their reputations from public exposure, the court approved the use of pseudonyms. "Although the allegations brought against [the defendants] involve abhorrent criminal conduct," wrote the court, "confidential juvenile proceedings and their underlying facts are highly protected by law from public dissemination." The court ordered the parties to prepare amended pleadings that use pseudonyms and that do not include the parties' full addresses, only the names of the municipalities.