NEW LEXINGTON – A former Perry County resident who is being sued by his granddaughter for alleged sexual assaults when she was a child has reiterated his request that the judge hearing the case order the plaintiff to stop hiding behind a fake name in her lawsuit.
Citing newspaper coverage of the case, an attorney for 71-year-old defendant Robert A. Woodrum has argued in a document submitted to Perry County Common Pleas Court on Aug. 26 that allowing Woodrum’s granddaughter to proceed with her litigation under the pseudonym “Jane Doe,” while his name is being announced to the public, is “fundamentally unfair.”
“(T)here can be no denying that publication of this matter has had (and will continue to have) a permanent negative effect on defendant’s reputation,” attorney Carter A. Brown contends in the court filing. “Defendant did not initiate this action and is already being forced to defend the false accusations while facing the decimation of his long-standing reputation in the community.”
Repeating a request the defense had made earlier, Brown asks Judge Tina Boyer to either order the plaintiff to use her real name in the suit, or dismiss her complaint.
The now-adult plaintiff, who is now a Marion County resident, filed her lawsuit anonymously July 1. The legal complaint said the woman “wishes to remain anonymous to the public due to the embarrassing and humiliating actions inflicted upon her” by Woodrum.
The suit alleges that Woodrum, who until recently lived in Crooksville, engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with the girl from the time she was 9 years old, until she was 13.
Woodrum has answered the lawsuit and countersued his granddaughter for defamation, claiming that the suit is frivolous and was filed only to “harass (him) and extort money.” He has asked the court to either dismiss the lawsuit, or require his granddaughter to give up her anonymity.
On Aug. 9, attorneys for the plaintiff filed a document opposing the defense dismissal motion, which they called “an effort to pressure her to dismiss her claim.”
The recent defense filing is a response to this. In it, Brown claims that the plaintiff’s only stated rationale for wanting to remain anonymous is “because she would have to disclose information of utmost intimacy.” While Brown acknowledges that there is “no disagreement that the allegations in this case are of a sensitive nature,” he says that both Ohio and federal law state that “this factor (by itself) weighs in favor of requiring a plaintiff to use their real name.”
News coverage of the case, he claims, shows that Woodrum’s reputation “has already been irreparably damaged by plaintiff’s unsupported allegations,” and that his defense “will be further prejudiced if (she) is permitted to continue her assault of (his) character in the court of public opinion.”
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org