The Manhattan district attorney has decided not to charge police commissioner Ray Kelly’s son Greg Kelly, a Fox 5 anchor, with rape, as reported last night; the New York Post has responded this morning by identifying the accuser. When the news first broke that the case would be dropped, the Post story did not include the name of the woman, who claims Kelly assaulted her in the office of a law firm — where she works as a paralegal — after the pair had drinks. The article has since been updated with personal details and a photo of the woman and her boyfriend, who both the Post and the Daily News have said pressured the accuser into reporting Kelly after finding out about their encounter. Despite the journalistic tradition in the U.S. not to name accusers in sexual abuse cases, this does not exactly come as a surprise.
When the allegations against Kelly were first reported, local tabloids immediately began publishing details that undermined the claims, including the existence of what the Post calls today “steamy texting” between Kelly and the accuser, along with anonymous law enforcement sources doubting the woman’s story. Also included was information about the woman — her job, her brother’s job — and many identifying details about her boyfriend, who could be easily tracked down in a Google search.
I wrote at the time, “As a public figure accused of rape, Kelly’s reputation has already been somewhat tarnished and the details of his life aired out. But if charges are not filed against him, it’s the accuser and those close to her who can expect the media glare moving forward, whether or not she decides to go public herself.” And here we are. The Post today names the “aspiring-model accuser” and notes her exact age; atop a photo of Kelly is one of the accuser and her boyfriend. (The Daily News, which previously published excessive information about the accuser’s boyfriend, has so far opted to leave the woman’s name out.)
A source tells the Post, “There are no plans to prosecute her because [authorities] don’t believe she is lying. She never wavered from her story that she was too drunk to consent.” But the paper seems to be exercising some vigilante justice of its own. Last year, the paper treated other female accusers similarly: Nafissatou Diallo, whose sexual abuse allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn didn’t stick, was villainized and even called a prostitute. When two NYPD officers were found innocent of rape, the woman who accused them was tracked down by the paper in California and put on the cover of the Post, her face slightly obscured. It’s a bullying tactic that could prevent women from reporting sexual abuse crimes; who would volunteer for this treatment?
Kelly, on the other hand, is called “the unmarried, popular host of Fox’s Good Day New York.” Not noted in the tabloid’s article: Kelly’s employer and the Post are both owned by News Corp.