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There are a few types of statements that are, by their nature, presumed to damage a person’s reputation. This is called "slander per se". These classes of statements are considered so harmful to a person’s reputation, that monetary damages are presumed. In such cases, the victim of the slander does not need to prove specific damages, just that the statements were made. There are 4 types of statements that constitute slander per se:
1. A statement that a person has committed a major crime
2. Statements that a person has a "loathsome disease". This could include any disease which is serious and highly contagious. Modernly, it would probably also include sexually transmitted diseases.
3. A statement that a person is incompetent at their business or profession. This might include a statement that a soldier is cowardly, or that a lawyer is illiterate.
4. Statements of serious sexual misconduct
. A public statement that someone engages in sexual behaviors that are generally considered perverse would fall into this category. It would probably vary between communities, based on their moral standards. A clear example that would apply in virtually any community is a statement that someone is a pedophile.
In a lawsuit for slander per se, all a plaintiff needs to prove is that the statements were made, and not that he or she suffered direct harm as a result. The statements themselves are considered to be the harm.