How can I write a nonfiction book using real names without being sued for defamation of character?

Asked about 3 years ago - Louisville, KY

I'm writing a book about my father, who sexually abused my sisters and I when we were children. I want it to be nonfiction, and I want to use his name. There are plenty of court trials and lie detector tests and CPS getting involved to confirm that what I'm saying is true, but I'm still worried he might sue me for defamation. How can this be avoided? Does he still have any legal basis to sue if everything I'm saying is true? Plus, even though this went to trial, they ended up dropping the charges because my mom didn't want to make my sister (who was 5 at the time) testify. Will he have more of a claim because he wasn't ever convicted? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Joseph Jonathan Brophy

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You can't immunize yourself in advance from a defamation case. If you are claiming in print that somebody did something horrible and they say it's a lie, they may sue you. Then it's up to the court to decide if there is a legal basis to the suit. Truth is an absolute defense.

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