I've had long chats via text messages with a friend, where I accused other people of sexually assaulting me (which was true, but I have no way of proving it really...), and mocking other people with insults (opinionated remarks only). My friendship with this person has recently gone sour, and I'm worried that she is going to use these text messages to hurt me in some way. I read here that defamation can be a criminal offense:


It mentions "published", but I don't know if private text messages are considered something that is "published"?

Can I go to jail for any of this? Or be sued if she passes it to them?

  • Why was my post down voted? The website clearly states that it's something I can go to jail for.. Feb 4 at 22:16
  • It sounds like you are asking for legal advice.
    – user6726
    Feb 4 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


§299 says that

A person publishes a libel when he

(a) exhibits it in public;

(b) causes it to be read or seen; or

(c) shows or delivers it, or causes it to be shown or delivered, with intent that it should be read or seen by any person other than the person whom it defames.

Publish does not mean just "get printed in a newspaper of general circulation", it includes "writing in a text message to a third person", i.e. a person other than the one whom you defame.

  • So the person who sexually assaulted me can press charges against me for telling someone, and then sue me on top of it. Great. Thanks though.. Feb 4 at 22:55
  • 1
    The lawsuit might not go very far if you can show that the statement is true. Prosecution is at the discretion of the government, so "pressing charges" isn't really a thing, and again hinges on whether your statement is false
    – user6726
    Feb 5 at 0:34
  • I cant really prove that it's true since I don't have it on video or any witness, just my own statement. Hopefully the government will have enough decency not to prosecute me over this lol Feb 6 at 18:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .