Newspapers tempted to push tradition aside and identify the woman who says she was raped at the Kennedy estate face a state law barring such publication. Critics call the rule discriminatory.
Advocates of disclosure say the law is also sexist and unfair to the suspect, William Kennedy Smith, a medical student and a nephew of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. Smith has denied any wrongdoing and no charges have been filed in the case."It's outrageous, it's unfair, it's sexist," said Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz. "If you publish the name, you will be constitutionally protected. I guarantee it."
But supporters of the law charge that a news media circus publicizing the woman's name - common knowledge in this high-society enclave - could be emotionally crippling.
David Roth, attorney for the 29-year-old woman, said last week that his client wants her privacy.
"She will come forward and testify but has no intention of seeking publicity or giving up her right to privacy," he said.
The sensitive telling of a rape case by a woman who wanted her story known brought a Pulitzer Prize for The Des Moines (Iowa) Register last week.
Rape victim Nancy Ziegenmeyer allowed her name to be used in an effort to counter the shame often associated with rape.