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ABC21 Digging Deeper: Judge stands by order barring broadcast of courtroom recording

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WPTA21) – A criminal court judge has rejected an ABC21 Motion to Reconsider regarding his order barring the broadcast of an audio recording made during the sentencing of a Huntington doctor on sex crime charges.

Judge Thomas Hakes let stand, without a hearing, the order that prevents the station from airing any of the testimony that was obtained by a public records request last month.

In his ruling, Hakes noted a state judicial rule (Rule 2.17) that prohibits "broadcasting, televising, recording or taking photographs in the courtroom," with certain limited exceptions. The recording in question was made as part of the official court proceeding.

Dr. John Mathew was sentenced to two years of house arrest and must register as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to two counts of felony sexual battery. Prosecutors initially charged Mathew with rape.

A second woman has filed an unrelated lawsuit against Mathew, claiming she was victimized sexually while working with him at a Fort Wayne hospice.

The testimony on the audio recording includes that of supporters of the doctor as well as those speaking for the victim. It also includes the victim, herself.

ABC21 policy is to not identify those affected by crimes of a sexual nature, and the station has noted it does not intend to broadcast her testimony.

Station management said on Thursday that it was disappointed by the ruling and is considering its options.


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