Can I be charged for harassment from a comment “like a can of sardines” to a third party while teen girls are crammed into one bathroom stall-

I was a by stander and the third party was a security guard. One of the girls parent is threatening to file charges of harassment. This was at a high school and I have a 30 year old felony charge and would like to know if this is also harassment towards myself. This is not the first time, anytime a question arises I am the first and only person looked at as the culprit.

Asked on October 30, 2011 under Criminal Law, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) From what you write, there is no crime that has been committed: a single comment, which does not contain any threat of violence, is not criminal. (It's also not defamation, by the way; what you stated was an opinion, and opinions are not actionable.)

2) If charges are brought against you by lying about what you said, or a civil lawsuit is brought against you when there are no grounds for one, it is possible that you may have a cause of action for malicious prosecution or abuse of process. But if nothing is filed or brought against you, you would not have a cause of action simply because of the threat to do so.

3)  Whether you could be subject to internal action by your employer (i.e. if you are employed by the school) if a complaint is made to the employer about the comment depends on whether you have an employment contract or union agreement and what they say about discipline, and/or your employer's internal policies and processes

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