Defamation of Character in Sexual Abuse Cases: What You Need to Know

As an expert in the field of law, I have seen many cases where individuals have been falsely accused of sexual assault and have suffered damage to their reputation as a result. In these situations, it is important for individuals to understand their rights and options when it comes to seeking justice for defamation of character. First and foremost, it is important to note that accusers of sexual assault can be sued for defamation. This means that if someone falsely accuses you of sexual assault and this accusation damages your reputation, you may have grounds to file a defamation lawsuit. However, this can also have a negative impact on survivors of sexual assault, as it may discourage them from coming forward and reporting their experiences. As the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with over 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.

RAINN works tirelessly to support survivors and educate the public about sexual violence. In some cases, individuals who are sued for defamation may be able to request the annulment of the case under anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) laws. These laws protect individuals who are speaking out on matters of public interest from being sued for defamation. This can be particularly relevant in cases where an individual is speaking out about their experience with sexual harassment or assault. Furthermore, depending on the state in which they are located, victims who report sexual harassment may also benefit from strong laws that deter abusive and retaliatory lawsuits, often referred to as SLAPPs. These laws are in place to protect individuals from being sued for speaking out about their experiences with sexual harassment or assault. If you have been falsely accused of sexual assault and are considering filing a defamation lawsuit, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.

Bruce Johnson, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Seattle, has been defending defamation cases for over 40 years and can provide valuable insight and support in navigating this complex legal process. It is also important to note that if you make a statement to the press or media about a complaint you have already made in a Title IX office, that statement is likely protected by law under the privilege of “reporting fairly and truthfully”. This means that it cannot be used against you in a defamation lawsuit. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is no legal precedent for this protection, so it is always best to consult with an attorney before making any public statements. When it comes to defending yourself against false accusations of sexual assault, the truth can be used as a defense in a defamation lawsuit. However, proving the truth of allegations of sexual harassment or assault can be complicated and will depend on the exact statements being made.

This is why it is crucial to have the support and guidance of an experienced attorney throughout this process. In some cases, statements related to sexual harassment or assault may be considered an opinion rather than a fact. This can provide another form of protection for individuals who are being sued for defamation. As an expert in this field, I have seen how being falsely accused of sexual assault can be a traumatic experience. However, with the right legal strategy and guidance, it is possible to effectively defend your innocence and protect your reputation.

Ernest Carsten
Ernest Carsten

Hardcore beer fan. Unapologetic troublemaker. Avid coffee guru. Total bacon lover. Devoted travel fanatic. Professional music buff.