As a parent, I understand being protective or even overly-protective, at times. However, there a moments where, in our desire to do so, we can mistake the actions of others. In the case of one Australian mother, such a mistake could make her the target of a lawsuit.
Earlier this month, the mom was at a Melbourne mall when she spotted a man she thought was talking to and taking pictures of her kids. The mom alerted security and then followed the man. She took a picture of him and posted the following to Facebook:
In the end, this post got an estimated 20,000 shares. The man in question now found himself labeled as a pedophile and even received some death threats.
However, here’s the rub: he did none of this. The man was actually taking his very first selfie in front of a Darth Vader cutout. He says his kids are Star Wars fans and he thought they’d get a kick out of their dad in a selfie.
The man contacted Melbourne Police was able to prove that he was not the “creep” the mom had made him out to be. A local paper issued the following statement via Facebook to quell this hysteria that rose up around this alleged incident:
Now, the mother is mortified and says she’s beside herself with grief over her actions. She has apologized for her actions but, the damage has been done. The man, for his part, is being gracious and says that he doesn’t want the mother to suffer any more than she already has. However, legal experts say that he would have a solid case should he ever pursue a defamation suit against her.
This is truly one of those tough cases. Obviously, a parent’s instinct is to protect one’s child but, in the age of social media, falsely accusing someone of being a child predator can have a devastating effect. Sadly, it may take legal action before issues like these get hashed out.