Can someone sue another person for calling them a pedophile in private?

Asked over 2 years ago - Hanover, PA

This older man has been contacting me via text message and via IM and i have asked him to leave me alone several times now. he keeps saying perverted and nasty things to me, so since hes a great deal older than me, i called him a pedophile (in private, no one else could read it) because he was harassing me and would not leave me alone. he is now saying that he is going to sue me for calling him a pedophile (in private.) is that possible?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . No, the statement is not defamation as it was not published. You may want to get a restraining order against this person if he won't stop.

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  2. Chad Guevara Boonswang

    Contributor Level 14

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, as it was not sent to a 3rd party.

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  3. Paul J. Whiting

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Nope. Not publicly stated. See the other poster's response.

  4. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . All of the attorneys who have responded here citing the fact that private communications are not actionable as defamation are correct, of course, and the advice they given-- that you are not subject to liability on such grounds -- is sound. But you still have a problem, it seems to me. You still have an older person repeatedly contacting you and expressing sexual interest, notwithstanding that you have expressly told him to stop.

    I suggest that you ask a local attorney to write and send an unambiguous cease-and-desist letter to this person, citing your right to seek a restraining order if necessary and your intention to do that if there are any further contacts in violation of your instruction to stop. That may be effective and, if not, then you will want to consider asking the local court to enter an order of protection.

    Don't be intimidated by this guy. The facts, as you have set them forth, are not favorable for him and it is unlikely that he will have the bravado and confidence to continue his improper conduct in the face of your clearly expressed intent to pursue your rights to be free of his bothersome actions.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more

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