False Police Reports/Slander/Security Clearance

Hi all

I have looked at some past post here regarding libel/slander and they have been of some help…but I probably havent found them all…so if anyone can link to them that would be great.

Anyhow…the sitiuation and questions. Any answers, even to one specific point or question would be greatly appreciated.

My girlfriends friend moved into our house after hurricane Ivan damaged hers…

She lived here 7 months, give or take and was the most arrogant, useless, lazy human being I have ever meet.

First part. She had this midsized dog she could not/would not control. It attacked everyone except her. And I dont mean barked at…I mean rabid kujo mode running /jumping/lunging attempting to bite. The ONLY reason it never REALLY got a good bite in was people either dove outa door, leaped onto furniture, or I was right there to grab it by the throat and hold it to ground to show it who the dominant one was. It did manage a fair number of minor bites, scratches and torn clothing. We are talking 6 people give or take.
Well, I’d about had it with her and dog after 4 or 5 months. Then a friend comes over to use the computer for real work. I go inside, ask her to quit playing games so Bob can come in and use it and to put up the dog. The dog had seriously attacked Bob in the past. Well, she hated Bob (for no good reason). We stand outside talking for another 5 minutes then head in. Well, here comes Kujo full bore down the hall, with no verbal warning from her that he was still loose or had gotten loose. I’d bet money she had done it on purpose.

Well, that DID it. I talked it over with the girfriend and we decided something had to be done. I agreed to be the “bad” guy.

The next day I read the woman the riot act. I lay down some serious rules about when and where and how the dog was to be controled (which she later ignores resulting in a few more attacks). I let her know that I have shot at someone in defense of an innocent third party before and therefore I would certainly have no compunction about taking out an outa control dog by any means neccessary to save someone elses butt in another attack, regardless of risk of personal injury to me. Or that the dog might take a one way ride in the country or more likely the county animal shelter. I also let her know how useless and arrogant she was around the house.

Well, I leave, come back a few hours later and she is gone (thank gawd, maybe she moved out). Much later that evening she does come back. Unfortunately, she ends up there another gut wrenching couple of months (roughly a year ago from now).

Finally some peace. Then after awhile my girlfriend starts telling me things “Sheila” told her I had done or said. And these were things I KNOW I’ve never said or done and probably never would. My girlfriend agreed that she thought they sounded pretty out there (gee thanks for the after the fact support).

Well…that simmers in the back of my mind for awhile. Then recently my girlfriend reveals Sheila thinks that I beat her. Which could not be further from the truth. I have never raised a hand, held a gun or knife, or said I was gonna get one, thrown anything at her, or made any physical threats period.

So first question.

I’d bet money that if Sheila thinks I beat my girfriend, she has told other people the same thing (quite the gossip). Now running around telling people such a thing seems pretty darn serious. Its not kinda generic like he is a liar, or cheater, or stupid/lazy, etc etc…That is a VERY serious accusation, BOTH VERY immoral AND VERY illegal.

So, if we go to court, and the girlfriend testifies that I dont beat her (and plenty of character witnesses for me), as well as witness as to the “oddness” of Sheila, what kinda case do I have? What makes even bad for my girlfriend is that she works in a field that deals with spouse/child abuse…and her being talked about behind her back as a current victim herself certainly can’t be doing her any good either.

Which brings up the point of the value “damages”. I’ve a technical degree and have spent most of my adult working life as a civilian on military/weapons work. I have had secret level security clearances in the past. Now, its my understanding that if you DON"T pass a background check, and dont get a clearance, they DO NOT have to tell you WHY, and there is no real mechanism for trying to address any issues they think might be reason to deny it (anyone know if this is generally true?)…so a false charge can really jam you up there…And I would think if they got wiff of domestic abuse allegations, even if unofficial, that certainly would not help matters any.

Now, not getting a clearance could be a real impediment to any future work I do, and I could be working another 20-30 years. Even a 10k a year salary penalty really adds up there…So, would I have to prove I can not or did not get a security clearance ONLY because of the spread rumors? Or would the fact they were done and exist be enough for some serious compensation?

Which brings up why I discussed reading the riot act about the dog to Sheila in the first place. In hindsight, after thinking about other things she’s claimed I’ve done and the rumors of domestic violence. I dont think she was out apartment hunting afterwards. Given her devious nature and her “you’ll never make me leave” attitude, it would not surprise me that she went down to the sheriff’s office and filed some kinda complaint.

Now, the cops never showed up, or sent any letters or calls that I know of. So, could I now have some kinda police “permanent” record instigated by her that day?. Is there some way I can find out about such a record if it exists? (I live in Florida BTW if that helps any).

The possibility of this record worries me even more. It certainly seems a security background check would pick up something like that. Only she and I were present at the time, so could I sue for slander for that one? That it affects my ability to get a security clearance? Could I use the easily to show false rumors of domestic abuse and other blatant falsehoods as indicators that accusations in the police file are false as well?

Gawd, what a mess ehhh?

And the real kicker? It turns out her house was barely damaged in the hurricane…she could have moved back home one week later when the power came back on!

take care and thanks a million for any input!


I’m a defense contractor who frequently volunteers to be interviewed for friends’ and acquaintances’ security clearanc investigations. One of the first things that the interviewer tells you is that under the Privacy Act of 1972, the subject of a security clearance investigation may request a copy of his investigation paperwork, and read what his friends said (or at least what the interviewer wrote down). As far as being unable to correct a misstatement by an unreliable source, I think you’re fine. Also, if the investigators do get a weird lead, they seem to want to follow it in other investigations. I gave one interview where they really needed to be reassured that my friend did not use ecstasy on a regular basis. Someone had mentioned that he “liked to go clubbing in the city, like to a rave” without understanding that a “rave” is not the same as a “dance club”. :smack: So unless your other friends get pointed questions about how often you beat your wife, you’re probably in the clear.

As I read this, you got no case. You don’t even know if she made a defamatory statement to anybody other than your wife. You haven’t suffered any damages yet. You’re speculating about all kinds of wild theories about what she might have done, and what the possible consequences of her hypothetical conduct might be. Relax.

I would ask your girl friend not to have anything to do with her, because of the things she does. You won’t remain a couple if the friend is attacking you . It sounds like the friend resents not having the full attentions of your girl friend. The dog should have been gone as soon as it’s temperment was aparent, and she should have went when she refused to remove the dog.

The only person you know she said anything to was your girl friend. All the rest is speculation.

How would you even think any big settlement would make it to your pockets? She lived off you for a year, and if she was to broke to rent an appartment, I have no idea why she stayed with you.

Welcome to the Dope, blll. You’ve raised some interesting questions, but because this is a message board and the questions you raise pertain to an actual, real, legal situation, the lawyers on this board aren’t likely to answer it. What we can do, instead, is to point you toward some resources that could help you.

I am a lawyer, but I’m not your lawyer. You’re not my client. I’m not licensed in or familiar with the laws of your jurisdiction. To get specific answers that apply the law of Florida to your personal situation, you’ll need a Florida-licensed lawyer. Fortunately, such a creature exists.

In fact, the Florida Bar has a lawyer referral service. Under that program, according to their website, you pay only $25 and get a half-hour consultation with a laywer who can ask you questions about your situation to ensure that the advice you get is accurate. For example, some of the questions that the lawyer should ask you are those posed in this thread by Oakminster and Harmonious Discord relating to publication, damages, and whether the defendant is judgment-proof.

In addition, the Florida Bar has published this pamphlet about defamation. It might help you. Best of luck.

When my mother was undergoing investigation for her security clearance in the '60’s (she was going to be employed by a congressman) the lead investigator told her the things my father had said. Including the fact that I was not his child, I was the child of the lawyer my mother had been working for. In spite of the fact that the facts pointed out Mom had not met the lawyer until she was 6 months pregnant with me. The investigator told Mom that after a while an investigator can “sense” when someone is not telling the truth in order to get a security clearance denied for some reason. In this case, Dad thought that maybe if Mom didn’t get the job, she’d come back to him. Yeah, right.

So these guys are going to be pretty sharp about stories told by weird people. And you get a chance to refute it in any case.

I have been on defense contracts as well as civilian agencies that do background checks. You indeed have the ability to access the paperwork, but it can take several months, and it doesn’t give you the right to contest a clearance decision.

A secret clearance is not particularly high and I’m not positive of what they do these days but when I got mine in 1983 and another in 1990 they did not interview anyone that I knew of. (For my Customs FFBI they did interviews.) A Top Secret investigation would definitely crawl down your shorts, but if only one person made such a wild claim that could not be corroborated, even by the “victim,” you should be fine. Plus someone would have to provide the name and contact info of this nut case for the investigator to even know to interview her.

As for slander, it doesn’t sound like you’ve suffered any damages, but IANAL and someone who IAL has given an excellent suggestion above.

Hi all

thanks for taking the time to respond!
Dont have the time at the moment to reply with specifics…will try later…but again thanks!

take care



I think you are making too much out of this. I know it sucks to have someone spread false stories about you, but I don’t see where this as it stands would merit a lawsuit. You can’t be arrested for any abuse when the only proof is the
“suspicion” of a third party. And as long as it goes no further, how would an
employer know about the “gossip”, and would any legitimate firm take such
gossip seriously, especially if you have no record?
To sue for slander, IIRC all of the following criteria must be met:

You have to prove you have been slandered- right now, you say you are not
sure if the girl has spread her opinion to anyone besides your girlfriend.

You have to prove it isn’t true- easy enough, if your girlfriend will corroborate this.

You have to prove she knew for a fact it wasn’t true but said it anyway- this is really tough. Short of having her on tape admitting she made it up, she could easily swear on a stack of Bibles that she really really feels you did this, and then
you would lose the case.

You have to prove you had no forum for defending yourself against the slander to the people who heard it. Hard to prove you couldn’t tell everyone you know that the rumor about you is false.

Also, as of now, you say you have not suffered any financial damage, so no monetary award could be given. If you absolutely could prove you lost money due to the slander, you may have a case, but as you stated, with high security clearance measures not having to give a reason for denial of a job or pay increase,
very tough to prove.

I would say, even though you are pissed at the girl for this, you really at this point have no basis for a lawsuit. She’s out of your life, I say just put it in the past and move on and good luck.

(emphasis mine)

This is not an accurate enumeration of the elements of a defamation claim under Florida law. From Campion’s link, under Florida law, to state a claim for defamation you must show:

His girlfriend IS the third party. Sheesh.

and back to this:

“blll physically abuses his girlfriend” is not a statement of an opinion. Saying "In my opinion, blll physically abuses his girlfriend” does not make it a statement of opinion.

** blll this is not legal advice.