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?

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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