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My husband to be was just found not guilty on a rape charge. Can we sue the girl that accused him? It was a jury trial.

Gatesville, NC |

Can we get her to pay our attorney fees, days missed from work? how about defamation of character issues. He works for a company that does HVAC and sometimes they work on government projects and his sercuity clereance was taken awya from him, because of the pending charges. These charges were brought against him in 2008, but the "rape" was suppose to have taken place in 2003. We have had a hard time because of these charges.

Attorney Answers 3


Yes. It sounds like you may have a viable defamation claim. You should consult with an attorney in NC immediately because there are strict time deadlines on filing this type of claim.

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I'm sorry to hear about the false charge that were brought against your husband-to-be. Your husband may be able to bring an action against his former accuser for both abuse of legal proceedings/malicious criminal prosecution and defamation.

To establish malicious prosecution, your husband must show that his accuser brought unjustified criminal charges against him without "probable cause" (without a reasonable basis) and with "malice" (bad intent). Your husband also needs to show that he successfully defended "on the merits" against these charges. "On the merits" means that he prevailed on the facts, as opposed to winning on a technicality.

As for your husband’s defamation claim, he will have to prove that the accuser made false accusations to other people about him without legal right and with wrongful intent (or at least careless about the accuracy of the statement), and that this false statement disgraced and/or harmed his reputation and good name.

Defenses to defamation include consent, truth, and opinion. Consent obviously does not apply. Your husband prevailed at trial, so his accuser will have a hard time establishing truth as a defense to your husband’s defamation claim. The accuser will most likely not be able to assert the opinion defense because her accusations implied the existence of underlying fact, as opposed to her merely expressing her opinion. Thus, the only defense that the accuser has is that, somehow, she had a right to make these charges because she reasonably believed that she was raped by your husband. Again, it does not appear that she will be able to establish this based on the information that you provided.

Your husband will have to demonstrate the extent of his damages relating to these rape allegations. In a defamation case, the plaintiff (aggrieved party – your husband) usually has to first prove that the statement was defamatory and then prove the extent of the harm caused by spreading the false accusation. Here, the false rape allegations involve a notorious criminal allegation (rape), so your husband will not have to prove that the statement was harmful –the Court will automatically accept this. He will, however, still have to prove the extent/amount of his damages caused by the statement. There is no way to put a precise dollar figure on the harm your husband-to-be suffered as a result of being falsely accused of rape, but he should be compensated for his expenses incurred while defending against these charges in addition to receiving compensation for the extreme emotional and reputational harm he likely sustained.

I hope this answer helps. Best of luck.

Note: this answer is not a substitute for legal advice. As with any legal matter, you are strongly encouraged to obtain legal counsel to better understand your legal rights and obligations.

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You can sue anyone for practically anything, the real question here is whether or not the accuser has sufficient assets to make a suit worthwhile in the first place. This will open up new wounds and issues for your boyfriend. Is it worth it? Can the accuser pay a large judgment?

Legal Disclaimer :

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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