Boston, MA asked in Criminal Law for Massachusetts

Q: Is it illegal for someone to do something if you said that you would commit suicide if they did it?

Someone threatened to send private 18+ photos to my parents and my university. I publicly tweeted that I would commit suicide if they did that. They saw my tweets and apologized and said they will not be sending anything. Then they did send private 18+ copyrighted photos to my university two weeks later.

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

A: It is unclear their legal liability unless you actually did do as you promised- which you did not. Still their was a risk to lief, and many questions were left open by the Michelle Carter case a few years ago, re: encouraging suicide. the larger issue might depend on the content of the pictures, and the harm caused to you. You might have a right to obtain a civil harrassment prevention order, or litigate for invasion of privacy, emotional distress, or even violation of your copyright if it is valid. Malicious interference with your education or scholarships, might also be slander/defamation. It is really hard to assess for you on the scant information provided. If you are overwhelmed by the release of pictures and the intrusion, please call the national hotline: 800-273-8255 or the MA Samaratins : (877) 870-4673. You may also wish to call your doctor for some anti anxiety or other medicine while you sort this out. College is hard enough now under Covid without the added stress on you. Don't let it spin out of control. Good luck!

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