LOS ANGELES – A woman who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Los Angeles Lakers forward Devin Ebanks is asking a judge to allow her to proceed with her lawsuit against him as “Jane Doe,” saying she “will fall apart” if the public learns her true identity.
The woman sued Ebanks last December in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging assault and battery, sexual assault, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Ebanks has denied the allegations, and the District Attorney’s Office found insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
The woman’s attorney, Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz, filed a motion scheduled to be heard Tuesday by Judge Samantha Jessner, asking that the plaintiff be allowed to continue using a pseudonym in her court papers.
Ebanks’ lawyers counter that the woman does not have sufficient legal grounds for such protection and that permitting her to do so would compromise their client’s ability to defend himself.
In a sworn declaration submitted in support of her position, the plaintiff says she has been “depressed and vulnerable” since the alleged assault and that she has a hard time not thinking about it.
“I fear that I will fall apart if the public gets a hold of my true name and I get verbally, physically and emotionally attacked,” she states in her declaration, adding that comments on the Internet in reaction to her suit have been “vitriolic and threatening. Already I am made to be an evil woman.”
The woman maintains that through anonymity, she has been able to “shield myself somewhat because I am not known as the person that has accused (Ebanks), a Laker NBA player, of rape, whose criminal complaint was not upheld by law enforcement, and now the woman bringing the lawsuit.”
The plaintiff says the “public interest is served if people like me, facing a relatively more powerful, rich and famous adversary, can bring litigation without fear of public disdain, intrusion of privacy and physical violence, among others.”
But Ebanks’ lawyers state in their court papers that the law does not permit people to proceed with civil cases under assumed names just to avoid “scrutiny in the media” which “could cause embarrassment” to litigants.
“Plaintiff, a recent law school graduate, is merely speculating that she may have difficulty finding employment in her new legal profession if her identify is revealed,” Ebanks’ lawyers say in their court papers.
Ebanks’ attorneys have filed a separate motion to dismiss some of the defamation claims. A hearing is scheduled April 18.
According to the lawsuit, the alleged assault took place on Sept. 13, 2011, after the two met at The Colony nightclub in Hollywood. She claims she agreed to go to the Laker player’s Marina del Rey apartment on the condition they not have sex.
The two began kissing, but after Ebanks began taking off her shorts and underwear, the woman objected and told him to stop, according to her court papers, which allege he then grabbed a condom and became sexually aggressive.
“What’s the big deal, it’s just sex … I’m on the Lakers,” her suit alleges Ebanks told her.
An angry Ebanks later threw her keys, purse and shoes outside and pushed her out of his apartment, according to her court papers.
The woman alleges Ebanks subsequently published false information about her on his Twitter account suggesting she had made up the rape allegations against him.
Prosecutors in December 2011 cited a lack of corroborating evidence for their decision not to prosecute him.
The Lakers chose the 23-year-old Ebanks as the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft.