The opinion of the court was delivered by: Proud, Magistrate Judge
Before the court is respondent's Motion to Restrict Public Access. (Doc. 22).
This petition for habeas relief concerns conviction of one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and four counts of criminal sexual assault. Respondent asks the court to seal the petition for habeas because it identifies by name the minor victims of the crimes.
The Report of the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management on Privacy and Public Access to Electronic Case Files recommends that, while documents in civil case files should be made available electronically, children should be identified by their initials only. See, http://www.privacy.uscourts.gov/Policy.htm, accessed August 27, 2007. The policy of keeping private the names of minors is particularly applicable in the case of minor victims of sexual abuse. "[F]ictitious names are allowed when necessary to protect the privacy of children, rape victims and other particularly vulnerable parties or witnesses." Doe v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin, 112 F.3d 869, 872 (7th Cir. 1997).
The court notes that most of the exhibits, including the decisions of the state courts, refer to the minors only by their initials or pseudonyms. However, petitioner's supplement (Doc. 16) and some of the exhibits attached thereto also contain the full names of the minors. The court finds its appropriate to seal the petition and the supplement in order to protect their identities.
Upon consideration and for good cause shown, respondent's Motion to Restrict Public Access (Doc. 22) is GRANTED as follows:
The petition (Doc. 1) and supplement (Doc. 17) shall be sealed.
All documents filed in this case shall refer to the minor victims and/or minor witnesses by their initials only. If it is necessary to file an exhibit which contains the full name of a minor victim or witness, the party filing the exhibit shall also file a motion to seal. It is the responsibility of the party filing the document to ensure that the minors' names do not appear in the public record. Rule 6, Electronic Filing Rules., Southern District of Illinois.
CLIFFORD J. PROUD U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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