Private Investigations and Personal Security/Witness Rights


Hi, I have information for the prosecution in a child pornography case, which was settled in a plea bargain. Now the attorney for the defense is threatening me with legal action for slander. Can they do that? I was told by the local crisis center that victim / witnesses are allowed to talk about their experiences and what they know.


Your question is a bit beyond my expertise.  You really need to talk to a lawyer to find out exactly how slander is legally defined in your state, and what you can do or say to avoid being dragged into court to defend yourself of this charge.  

Your local Bar Association or women's shelter probably has a referral service to help you find the type of lawyer you need, at a price you can afford. You can also google terms like "search lawyer Massachusetts" with your state substituted there.

You might also ask the lawyer whether you could bring a civil action, instead of a criminal one, against your harasser, if he continues to bother you.

Ask first about fees for a consultation. Some lawyers will charge from the first minute in their office. Others will be willing to do an initial screening by phone or in person to decide if they are the right attorney for you. Make sure you understand the fee arrangement before talking about your situation.

I hope you find out that you can say anything that is true about that case.  Probably there will be some limits, however.  Even if what you have to say is true, you don't want to be charged with a crime (slander) and have to go through the trouble and expense of defending yourself.  Only a lawyer who has dealt with similar situations can really give you good advice, so I hope you can find one easily.

Stay safe,

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Lyn Bates


Are you being stalked? I can help evaluate the amount of danger you are in, and can provide very specific suggestions for increasing your safety, and for managing your situation. As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women`s Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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