Defamation and Emotional Distress...

by Angel
(Saint Robert, MO)

A 16yr old girl insulted my son and daughter, spreading untrue rumors about them and now has our neighbors turning their backs on us. This girl said my son plays with himself while others are in the room and she has told this to her mom, sibling, the people she lives with, the next door neighbors and anyone she comes in contact with.

This same girl also spread rumors at the high school that my oldest daughter has multiple STD's. And now boys won't go out with her because it's all over school.

This girl is ruining my children's lives and now her mother and her mother's friend are joining in to pick on them, telling other adults. The girl's mother has a friend who constantly, whenever around verbally abuses my children. Is there any way to stop this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Defamation and Emotional Distress...":

Angel:

Yes! When it comes to defamation, including slander and libel the courts are quite specific. Slander occurs when someone says something to defame another. Libel occurs when someone writes something to defame another. It is clear your children were slandered, and if there was any texting, they were libeled as well.

If the taunts of the other children were just mean spirited and hurtful, you and your children would probably not have a a very good chance of suing them. (Here we are dealing with First Amendments Rights of Freedom of Speech). But the courts have held when the slander and libel allege acts involving the moral turpitude of an individual, the First Amendment Rights become qualified.

In other words if the other children said or wrote mean things about your children their speech and texting would be protected by the US Constitution. But when their speech and texting go “over the line” and allege your children have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, or are sexually perverted, then the other childrens' speech is not protected and they should be liable for their actions – for defamation of character through the use of slanderous and libelous remarks.

If the school was aware of the spreading of these slanderous and libelous remarks and did nothing to stop them, the school district may be liable as well. Cases like these often include jury verdicts which can include actual damages and substantial additional compensation for Pain and Suffering and Mental Anguish.

What happened to your children is regrettable.

Since laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions, you should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state (if you haven't already). Find an experienced local attorney to give you a free personal case review here.

Best of luck,

Judge Anthony

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