If a woman continually tells information to people about a girl being a pedophile and a molestor andit isn’t true, can the woman go to jail?

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If a woman continually tells information to people about a girl being a pedophile and a molestor andit isn’t true, can the woman go to jail?

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The woman won't go to jail because this is a civil case.  She can be sued for defamation. Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third person and the statement is injurious to one's reputation.   Making false statements about someone being a pedophile and molester is clearly injurious to the girl's reputation.   Each repetition of the statement also constitutes defamation.

Slander is spoken defamation.  Libel is written defamation.

If the girl is a minor, she would need to have her parent or another adult appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit for defamation on her behalf against the woman making the defamatory statements because a minor cannot file a lawsuit. 

Damages means the amount of compensation one is seeking in a lawsuit.  In a lawsuit for defamation, damages could include mental distress, loss of friends and associates  resulting from the defamation, physical illness and medical expenses if applicable.

The lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or the girl will lose her rights forever in the matter. 


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