In NY state Can I press charges against someone who falsely reports me to CPS?

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In NY state Can I press charges against someone who falsely reports me to CPS?

Someone I know who called child protective services on me and my husband. They said that my husband sexually abused the kids. The case worker came out and closed the case not even 2 days later. It was an anonymous call. The officer I spoke to said that it’s a crime and I can press charges. He said CPS can look up the number called from to verify who made the call. Can I have the person arrested? What do I need to do to do so?

Asked on June 28, 2019 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Your ability to prosecute the person is limited. The law does not want to discourage reporting child abuse, even if the informant is wrong, since punishing informants can result in child abuse continuing. So it's not enough that the informant was wrong--it would have to be the case that they knew they were wrong and intentionally filed a false report, such as to harass or get revenge on you or your husband. That is, there must be provable bad motives on the person's part. Find out who it was--it sounds like you can do that. If it's someone who has a grudge against you or your husband (ex-spouse or former boy/girlfriend; someone to whom you owe money, or who owes money to you and doesn't want to pay it; someone you've had confrontations with in the past; etc.) report this and those other circumstances to the police and explain you believe a false report was improperly made for improper reasons. But if the person doesn't have anything against you (e.g. it's a neighbor you've gotten along with; it is the parent of one of your children's friends), it may have been a well-meaning person who misintrepeted the factrs; if it was, they did nothing legally wrong.


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