Baseball legend Jose Canseco tweeted Wednesday that he's been accused of rape. He also disclosed the name, picture, and phone number of the alleged victim -- a move that may soon regret.
After being visited at his home by Las Vegas police, Canseco posted on Twitter about the woman who accused him of rape, reports Business Insider. Most of those tweets were quickly deleted.
This antagonistic move may not only be cretinous, but it could also potentially land Canseco in even more legal hot water.
Revealing the Name of a Rape Victim
There are no criminal penalties directly associated with revealing the name of a rape victim, and Nevada's Rape Shield law only protects an accuser from having her credibility attacked at trial by asking about her sexual history.
In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that state law cannot prevent the media from accurately naming an alleged rape accuser or victim, or impose penalties on media outlets for doing so.
Jose Conseco, however, is not a journalist reporting on a matter of public record. By blasting his accuser and divulging her personal information online, he could potentially face charges for dissuading a witness.
Dissuading a Witness Is a Crime
Nevada law makes it a crime to intimidate, threaten, or persuade a witness from testifying or producing evidence. Jose Conseco's tweets about his alleged rape accuser could be seen as an online form of strong-arming the woman not to press charges.
It wouldn't be the first time that social media was used to intimidate witnesses. Along with Twitter, Facebook has been used to keep accusers from testifying.
By posting scantily clad pictures of the alleged accuser on Twitter, accompanied by the sinister-sounding provocation to play "truth or dare," Conseco certainly appears to be flirting with a potential criminal offense.
The Alleged Victim's Privacy
Posting a person's name online is not necessarily an invasion of privacy, but it becomes more problematic when accompanied by embarrassing photos and phone numbers.
Posting pictures of someone online using social media without their permission can open a whole mess of lawsuits, and Jose Conseco could be sued under a "false light" theory -- i.e., that he used a revealing photo of his accuser to suggest she is promiscuous and a liar.
Ultimately, Jose Conseco is just creating trouble for himself in his future civil or criminal trial. As of Wednesday afternoon, the district attorney's office had confirmed to The Atlantic that Canseco's rape allegation was under investigation. But so far, no charges have been filed.
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