Local

Suit over alleged cyber threats against girl

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Kingwood father is suing three middle school students who he says bullied his daughter online. He says the three girls posted a defamatory video about his child on a social networking site.

Jason Medley says he didn't expect nor did he want publicity when he filed suit this week. Even though he is an attorney, he says he is a father first. What he wants is to sit down with the parents of the three children he says libeled his daughter by lying about her sexual behavior. He hopes if nothing else, the suit helps that to happen.

The lawsuit alleges that the three girls posted a video to Facebook in which they libeled a classmate and damaged her reputation. All of the children live in Kingwood and are students at Riverwood Middle School in the Humble ISD.

For its part, Facebook has removed the video in accordance with its abuse policies.

The Medleys claim that they've tried repeatedly to meet with the parents of the other children. They've sent multiple letters requesting the girls agree to leave their daughter alone and to donate money to an internet safety charity. But since they've had no luck there, they felt the lawsuit was their only option.

Patrick Thornton said, "It's a unique lawsuit in that they're suing for libel, defamation against minors.

Thornton is a lawyer who teaches at the University of Houston Law Center. While the case is unusual, a jury may find it meets the traditional standards for libel if it goes to court.

"With the rise of technology, these kinds of suits may become more common," Thornton explained.

The Medleys issued a statement which reads in part, "We are not seeking publicity or any personal gain, and for the sake of all the girls involved, we hope to resolve the matter privately with the families without further action or media attention. My single goal was to stop the bullying in this particular incident. But perhaps this may also help to shed light on an important and emerging issue and help to lessen this problem for the sake of other children."

We called the homes of all three of the defendants. Two of them did not answer and at a third we left a message but have not received a return call.

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