Dear Annie: My neighbors, “The Smiths,” are new members in the community. Recently, their 8-year-old son went to play at a classmate’s home. The classmate, “Johnny,” closed his bedroom door and then told Mrs. Smith’s son to take his pants off, threatening him if he told anyone. The Smith boy told his parents anyway, and they went to speak to Johnny’s parents, who denied everything and refused to accept that the incident ever happened.
Johnny’s mother is the school mouthpiece and is telling every parent in the class that my neighbor’s son is a pedophile. Now everyone avoids them. The Smiths love this area, have spent tens of thousands in renovations and just want this woman to stop lying. They have tried to talk to other parents, but apparently, the damage has been done.
I know the Smiths’ son needs counseling, but they seem to be paying a high price for his victimization. How can you convince such a big group of people that someone is lying? Is there anything she can do legally? Please help them. Every day seems to get worse. – Shocked in Saskatoon
Dear Saskatoon: A certain amount of “experimentation” is normal with children that age, but having an adult label the Smith boy a pedophile is extremely damaging. Suggest to your neighbor that she speak to an attorney about suing Johnny’s mother for defamation. Even if the case never goes to court, a strongly worded letter from a lawyer can make the woman think twice about spreading more lies. Your neighbor should also speak to the principal of the school, as this is a form of bullying and the school should put a stop to it immediately.