Rape coverage disappoints

I am writing in reference to your article "UVA rape case: Student accepts lesser charge" [April 29, 2004]. I was closely involved in the case and was very disappointed to find the details in print. The extent to which you reveal the events of the night is both inappropriate and in some instances inaccurate.

I urge you in the future to consider why you are writing an article and whether what you write serves that purpose. Exposing to the public the details of a rape case, I believe, does little to fight sexual assault in the community and thus can serve no other purpose than to place in the public what those involved had hoped to keep private.

You have affected a number of lives in writing this article, and while that is your right, I believe you could have gone about it in more tactful ways. I am a strong supporter of a free press, but I would hope that you would be more conscientious in your participation within it.

A rape case will always be far more complex than an outsider will ever understand, and thus forever out of reach of a "factual" or "objective" account. Perhaps there was a better way to achieve the end you hoped for in this situation.

Megan Downey