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Can I press charges and/or file suit against online harassment and libel?

Richmond, VA |

For the past year and a half, my ex-boyfriend has been doing things to harass, libel and defame, me, my husband and our roommates, who have a band.He started showing up at places because he knew I would be there (restaurants/clubs he had never been to before) and taking photos and videos of me when I wasn't looking. Posted the temporary restraining order he was served with on to facebook and then went on to post publicly on many websites about how I was crazy, and my husband and roommates had drug problems and that we made livings as hackers and prostitutes. He started a website with nude photos of me which I did not sign any release to let him use. I have had police officers tell him to stop contacting me and posting this stuff and have sent a notarized cease and desist letter.

I was not able to have my request for a permanent restraining order granted due to the fact that he was stalking me in public places that he knew I would be at and the fact that he lied about doing of some of things at the hearing. I reported the perjury to the commonwealth attorney but he also denied his actions to the detective they sent to intervene. Whenever I try to bring the online harassment screenshots to the police and magistrate, they tell me there is no way to tell it's not someone else posting from his account. I also got a death threat if I didn't stop reporting his actions from a blocked number the same day that I first filed a police report and they told me there is no way to trace it or to prove he had anything to do with it.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

If he has homeowner's insurance, a lawyer can look into submitting a claim for the nude pictures. I had a client whose ex sent photos to her work from his home computer, and I got the homeowners carrier to cough up 200k

Asker

Posted

I believe he rents his apartment and therefore doesn't have Homeowners Insurance. Would the same apply to someone with renter's insurance and can you explain to me why the Homeowners Insurance Co. would be held liable instead of the person directly?

Andrew Mark Jaffe

Andrew Mark Jaffe

Posted

Christian - going after the homeowner's insurance carrier - good thinking out of the box. Very impressive.

Posted

I agree with Mr. Lassen's approach and advice.

Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.

Asker

Posted

As I have commented to Mr. Lassen's post, I believe he rents his apartment and therefore doesn't have Homeowners Insurance.

Posted

It seems that if there is a restraining order in place, he may be in violation of it. I would bring that to the attention of the State Attorney's Office almost immediately. As far as a civil action is concerned, the standard for a defamation suit, in short, is that the written words are false, and that they have caused you some sort of damage. You will need to prove that there is damage to your reputation. The big issue here is that even if you win the lawsuit, does your ex have money to cough up for a judgment? Also, these types of suits are not cheap, and they generally do wear down on the plaintiff. You can bet that the defendant's attorney will try to drag your reputation through the mud in an attempt to show that there was no damage to your reputation.

The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and does not form an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

The restraining order was temporary, I was not able to get the permanent one granted since he chose to stalk me in public places that he knew I would be. He did post it publicly on facebook while it was in effect but the police would not do anything when I reported it since it was not direct contact with me. I have suffered much emotional damage from this and this all happened in a fairly small town and I can't seem to go out in public without someone who knows him recognizing me and bringing it up. I really fear that this will or already has harmed mine and my husbands reputations and since my ex was using our full names online it comes up in google searches, which many employers take into account before hiring someone.

Mark Raafat Malek

Mark Raafat Malek

Posted

It seems as though you may want to contact a personal injury attorney to try to bring a civil suit. Perhaps also consider trying to get a restraining order renewed.

Posted

You need to speak with a local attorney who can help you remove the website and postings. Plus, the actions that you describe may be criminal and you may want to speak with the local Commonwealth's Attorney. Our firm represents victims of medical malpractice and nursing home neglect - not defamation - but I am a former Lynchburg prosecutor and would be able to refer you to someone who can help. Feel free to contact me at (540) 985-0098.

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