Arlington, MA asked in Juvenile Law, Libel & Slander and Sexual Harassment for Massachusetts

Q: My child continues to get harrassed in person and on social media. A female posts statements claiming my son "sexually

harrassed" her. She sent it through snap chat. It is not accurate. What are my son's rights. BTW both ages are 14 years old.

1 Lawyer Answer
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Acton, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: You are in a tricky spot to navigate as there are so many ways to go and so many pitfalls too. Have you contacted the police about the cyber-bullying? If they are in the same school, have you notified the school so they can intervene on the bullying as well? As for the harassment, if they were ever in a 'dating' relationship then he might be able to obtain a restraining order against her. In MA we also have Harassment Protection Orders to prevent harassment, but those require 3 or more acts that are malicious and are also threatening. Facts, context, and circumstances aer important to this analysis, and you didnt provide enough information to determine if that is a viable choice. If not, and there is no merit to what she is calling 'sexual harassment' then he may also come within the framework of cyber stalking/stalking. Usually a juvenile police officer will have a chat with the offender party to end the harassment. On the other hand, if there is any merit at all to the girls complaints then there could be an investigation. If it is possible your son hasnt told you everything then maybe haveing a lawyer involved would facilitate a real assessment of what he is involved in. It would be protected by attorney client privilege and he would have no fear while the situation is vetted. Another option is for a lawyer to issue a letter to the girl and her family advising that legal action will be pursued if the behavior doesnt stop. One downside to that is if they react negatively and the girl makes false accusations or exaggerate to her parents what the story is.

You dont want your son to be shamed and abused this way, as it will impact him at school when he returns. If he is dreading it, pay attention to the emotional signs of that too like headaches, stomach aches, stress, anxiety, anger, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and all the physical manifestations of anxiety. Good luck-

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