Q: My daughter is 15 and a 19 year old is threatening her in school and social media. Can I press charges for harassment?
A: In New York, there are a number of harassment laws. Generally such laws prohibit a wide array of activities intended to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm people.
If this 19 year old is threatening and engaging in behavior that would cause a reasonable person to feel annoyed, then at the very least, one of the less serious charges of harassment would apply. It is difficult to determine which level of harassment applies to this situation because of the lack of facts. For instance, aggravated harassment in the second degree occurs when, with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm another person, one communicates with a person anonymously or not, by telephone, mail, or other written communication in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.
If this 19 year old has been engaging in this conduct over a longer period of time, or has faced harassment charges in the past, it is possible she could fall into second degree harassment without additional aggravating circumstances.
Bottom line, the situation you have described is concerning. At the very least, call the police, express your concerns, and inquire about the possibility of filing charges. This would lead to an order of protection likely being granted and, hopefully, some peace of mind for you and your daughter.
This sounds like a very stressful situation. I hope everything works out and you are able to focus on more pleasant things. Again, this is not legal advice and I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney who can provide you with advice after hearing more facts about your case.
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