Fairfax court publishes name of victim in Jesse Matthew rape case

UPDATE – Friday – 5/22/2015, 2:45 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va. — Judge David Schell has ordered both parties to use the complaining witness’s initials, rather than her full name in future filings. The judge thanked the media for its discretion when the woman’s full name was published on the court web site on Wednesday.

EARLIER  – Friday – 5/22/2015, 11:30 a.m.

WASHINGTON — According to court records, Judge David Schell will hear arguments during a Friday hearing over whether the victim’s “full name should be used or whether initials are more appropriate.”

EARLIER – Wednesday – 5/20/2015, 9:40 p.m.

WASHINGTON – The woman who was raped and brutally beaten in Fairfax in 2005, allegedly by Jesse Matthew, has had her name published by the Fairfax County Circuit Court.

The woman was 26 when she was attacked while walking home from a Giant supermarket in Fairfax City, Sept. 24, 2005, allegedly by Matthew.

Matthew, who prosecutors say was linked by DNA, was indicted nine years later in the Fairfax case.

He is also charged with capital murder in the Sept. 2014 death of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Early Wednesday morning, the court published on its website in an area dedicated to high-profile cases, a defense Notice and Motion to Suppress Unduly Suggestive Identification, which identified the complaining witness, with her full name.

Approximately six hours later, the filing was removed from the court’s website, after the woman’s name had been available to the public.

While the woman’s name will be used in court, most news organizations, including WTOP, don’t identify victims in sexual attacks.

When Matthew was indicted in October 2014, court documents referred to her by her initials.

Earlier in the case, as they argued against broadcasting the trial, prosecutors expressed concern the victim might be reluctant to testify in Matthew’s upcoming Fairfax County trial, which is scheduled to begin June 8.

Matthew is charged with attempted capital murder, abduction with intent to defile, and object penetration. He faces three life sentences for the Fairfax crimes.

The judge in the case, David Schell, had sealed the court file in January, in part for privacy concerns. Eventually he unsealed much of the case.

Since then, motions have been filed publicly, but the signatures of the attorneys and judge have been blacked out.

Phone calls from WTOP to the Chief Judge’s chambers were referred to the court Clerk’s office, which has not returned requests for comment.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey Lingan declined comment, and public defender Dawn Butorac did not return several phone calls.

Matthew is due in court Friday, for a motions hearing on the defense’s request to suppress the victim’s identification of Matthew, because of pre-trial publicity.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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