Arizona Republic's Uneven Victim Protection Program: Sex Suspect's Name Omitted in One Case, but Not in Another
Bruce Branscom and Jose Alfredo Rivera were arrested on New Year's Day in separate cases on suspicion of molesting little girls.
The arrest of men on suspicion of sexual misconduct with their own family members makes for a journalistic conundrum: Name the suspect, and you've all but identified the victim.
Local media was presented with this challenge yesterday -- twice. Court records show that two men -- Jose Alfredo Rivera of Glendale and Bruce Branscom of Mesa -- were arrested on New Year's Day in separate cases after being accused of sexual activity with 12- and 13-year-old girls.
In our blog post yesterday, you'll see that we decided to name the men without stating their relationship to the victims. Not sure if that's the best way, but when a guy is accused of committing a horrific crime like that, we tend to believe that he doesn't deserve anonymity.
The Arizona Republic, on the other hand, decided for inexplicable reasons to name one suspect -- and describe his relationship with the victim -- but not the other.
The story by reporter Angela Piazza about Rivera states clearly that the victim is his stepdaughter. (Thus defeating New Times' attempt to cloak the relationship between the two, as New Times accidentally defeated the Republic's attempt to hide the suspect's identity.)
The Republic states that, "the suspect's name is being withheld by The Arizona Republic to protect the victim's identity."
But now the truth is out, for better or worse -- as it is in the Branscom case.