ACLU Says Jane Doe’s Name Will Be Kept Secret - The Missourian: County

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ACLU Says Jane Doe’s Name Will Be Kept Secret

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Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 5:32 pm

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union contends his plaintiff can remain anonymous despite recent statements by the county counselor that Jane Doe’s identity would be revealed.

But Franklin County Counselor Mark Vincent said he still believes Jane Doe’s identity will be made public if the case is not settled. Vincent recently said the plaintiff’s identity will be revealed if there are depositions, which have not been scheduled.

ACLU attorney Anthony Rothert said Monday that his client, who is known only as Jane Doe, can remain anonymous under an order issued by U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. in May.

As for Vincent saying the plaintiff’s name would be made public, Rothert said, “He’s wrong.”

Moreover, Rothert said he hopes this is not an attempt by the county to intimidate the plaintiff. Such action will not work, Rothert said.

The order approved by the judge states that the plaintiff can continue to proceed in the case under the Jane Doe pseudonym, Rothert said.

Vincent said the county can push to get that order dissolved.

The county is being represented by a group of private attorneys called the Alliance Defense Fund for no charge.

Rothert said a settlement is possible in the case that alleges Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer led prayers at meetings that mentioned Jesus. The ACLU alleges that the prayers dealt with Christianity and therefore violated the U.S. Constitution

After being sued, the county adopted a new invocation policy for meetings that attempts to respect religious diversity.

Still, Vincent has said that the county never did anything illegal.

Rothert noted that the ACLU offered the county a settlement agreement late last year, but it was rejected without a counteroffer. Rothert would not discuss specifics of the rejected settlement.

The ACLU does not plan on making another settlement offer, Rothert said, noting that the county can make an offer.

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