A great question was asked about how to handle a threatening letter involving pictures. I answered the question, and thought I would share the results here. The question was:

if I find naked pictures of me in an envelope and an anonymous note threatening to show these to my boss what can I do?

Absolutely there are things that can be done. First, you have to decide if you want to take this a civil route, or a criminal route. Although it does not appear there was a demand associated with the threat, generally when you are threatened with an “impending” action, the suggestion is that there is something you can do to avoid the event (i.e. the pictures being revealed). You’ve heard the term “blackmail” — well your envelope and the implicit demand are where the term “black mail” comes from.

If you pursue this criminally, you will file a police report and demand action under VA Code 18.2-372-376. I cite VA code because the individual asking the question mentioned she was in VA – obviously, each state has a similar statute or statutes. This code section deals with criminally obscene materially (in this case, an attempt to publish nude and lascivious photographs for the purpose of profit). If you pursue this under a civil action, you will seek a restraining order to prohibit any act by the wrong-doer. Once awarded a restraining order, you will then sue under violation of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress theories, citing to the protective order to avoid summary judgment.

Both of these actions should be taken under the guidance of an attorney. DO NOT let yourself be bullied. Give us a call and we can help. 1-800-579-9864 or admin@hanoverlawpc.com.

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