AP throws the desk a curve
As noted on the ACES discussion board today, the AP has thrown desks a bit of a curve with the story of the 8-year-old rural Idaho girl who was abducted and later found with a convicted sex offender -- and now says she was molested.
After days of identifying the girl, the AP has now pulled back with the revelations of the possible molestation of her and her brother (who now is presumed dead). This from the wire story:
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Maskell wrote in the terse, handwritten document that both children “were repeatedly molested.” It is the policy of The Associated Press not to publish names of alleged sexual assault victims without their consent.
That's a noble gesture, but probably misguided at this point. The cat, as it were, long ago left the bag. As worded, and given that many people know the girl's name now and that the latest revelations are hardly holding back others, the AP leaves itself -- and its members that choose to use that wording -- open to some skepticism from those who are inclined to think we're all a bunch of conspirists anyhow. I'd suggest at least some slightly different wording: "Although the children's names were widely reported before the allegations of molestation became known, The Associated Press is now not using them because of the AP's policy not to publish names of alleged sexual assault victims without their consent."
That would be a bit more transparent. Of course, a strong argument probably could be made at this point that this is one of those cases where life has come and bit the policy on the butt (life is sooooo uncooperative that way), and it looks more pedantic than principled not to use the name.