One week after the Los Angeles Times reported that 20th Century Fox had deleted a scene featuring Steven Wilder Striegel from "The Predator" after learning that he is a registered sex offender, the 14-year-old girl involved in the case is speaking out.
Paige Carnes, now 24, contacted The Times on Wednesday, identifying herself as the girl referred to in court documents relating to Striegel's case. (She provided legal documents proving her identity.) In 2010, Striegel pleaded guilty to two felonies — risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer — for which he served six months in jail.
Last month, actress Olivia Munn, who acted in a scene with Striegel in "The Predator," learned of the actor's background and alerted Fox. The studio said it was not aware of Striegel's criminal history when he was hired, but director Shane Black — who has been friends with Striegel for 14 years — said he knew about the charges and "personally chose to help a friend." (A day after The Times’ story was published, Black issued a public apology to those he'd let down by having Striegel around "without giving them a voice in the decision.")
Because of her age at the time of the crime, the young woman in Striegel’s case was referred to as Jane Doe. In a statement, Carnes said she wanted to come forward publicly to reclaim her identity.
"I was not able to speak for myself when I was 14," she wrote. "I have no shame for what was done to me," she continued. "I am not the one who needs to carry that shame."
In her statement, Carnes expressed gratitude to Munn for taking a stance on her behalf. "To be acknowledged by a stranger, on a public platform about this issue is incredibly empowering," she wrote.
Munn said this week that she felt a lack of support from her costars in "The Predator" after speaking out against Striegel, and some of the actors pulled out of press obligations at the Toronto International Film Festival because of their discomfort over questioning about the Times story.
Carnes' full statement:
My purpose in making this statement is to reclaim my identity.
Sexual abuse makes people uncomfortable. It should make you uncomfortable. This discomfort is nothing compared to the psychological and physical suffering of those who have dealt with it.
I was not able to speak for myself when I was 14. The consequences of this abuse are profound and permanent for some. When the abuse takes place with a child, it is even harder to overcome. You lose trust in everyone around you, and mainly yourself. Your abuse does not define you. With support from others and strength from within, you can overcome the label of victim and reclaim your identity.
Support can come in many forms. Sometimes all it takes is one person speaking up for you, acknowledging your worth as a human being. I am extremely fortunate to have a Father and Mother that love me unconditionally. My Father has supported me in my healing and growth in ways I cannot thank him enough for.
I am also eternally grateful for Olivia Munn’s action. She spoke up for me. She took a stance for me. In turn she stood for all who have suffered like I have. To be acknowledged by a stranger, on a public platform about this issue is incredibly empowering. The positive feedback from social media towards Olivia Munn is uplifting and feels incredibly supportive for me personally.
I have no shame for what was done to me. I am not the one who needs to carry that shame. My name is Paige Carnes, former Jane Doe.