South Africa Law
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PS - I didn't see the drop-down list under "Legal" when I posted the question. It should have been posted under the category "South Africa Law"
I have been accused (in private) by a person who claimed I "molested" her sometime during the period 1976-1978 while I was her music teacher at a public school. This person visited me yesterday to make this accusation (I haven't seen her since 1978). Regardless of the fact that this never happened, and that it would have been very difficult to happen in the specific circumstances of the music block at the school (I never had any interaction with her outside the school premises), it is my understanding that if she took the matter further, it may have serious financial implications for me. I am currently self-employed as a luthier (violin maker and repairer), and such an accusation if it were to become public knowledge may very well be the end of my business. If this would even end up in court it would ruin me and my family financially. I need to know how to counter such an accusation and minimize the possible damage to my reputation and financial situation (which is often quite precarious). I have a wife (we've been married for 31 years) and a daughter of 19 years. I've discussed the matter with my wife, and she is distraught. I also need to know what counter-measures (such as suing this person for defamation) are available to me. It may be useful to briefly recount how this all came about: This person applied for, and got a job at the school where my wife is teaching. After the first day in the job, she resigned by phone (this was at the beginning of this year). Earlier this week I received an invitation from my accuser to join her professional network on LinkedIn (an Internet-based professional network), and a request for an appointment to discuss having a violin made by me for her. When she arrived at my workshop, she told me she had "amnesia", and kept on asking "Do you remember me?" She had a weird demeanor, and a strange fixed stare. Then she introduced her accusation by repeating "Do you remember me? Do you remember molesting me?" She proceeded to mention the episode above when she resigned from her new job after one day, and claimed that she went into a state of hysteria when she encountered my wife at the school. According to her, because of her "amnesia", the reaction she had when encountering my wife indicated to her that I must have "molested" her at school. To reiterate, I primarily need advice on how to counter any further moves from this person to prevent this matter from escalating. Unfortunately it seems to me that it is very hard to emerge from this kind of charge without some serious damage.
HiWelcome to Just Answer!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you.
Do you know the details of this person and where she lives?
I know her name, and that she lives in the City Bowl in Cape Town. If it is necessary I can find her address with a bit of research.
Other than that she was one of my music students at school, 1976-1978, I know nothing about her subsequent history. I left the employ of the school in 1978 when she was in St 9.
As described in your question, my view is that if you do not take strong and specific action to prevent this from snowballing, you are almost admitting liability!!
You have to firstly warn her, through a lawyer that you refer her to her approach and that you deny any of the allegations made. This is important!! Secondly, that if she decides to take this further, you will defend this and will consider a civil and criminal case for defamation. You should make it very clear that you will sue for damages without a doubt.
You need to this soon and get a lawyer to deliver such a letter by hand and get her to sign for it. If she off course continues, you will have to follow through on your threat and take action, including an ugent interdict barring her from spreading this rumour.