Hello Reddit my name is Joel and in the spring of 2005 I was wrongly accused of wanting to kill a student in my high school. As you will read some of the other students involved made some pretty bad statements and I do not blame the girls for reporting them. I maintained my innocence and embarked on a civil lawsuit against the girls. It took 3 years and a trial by jury to clear my name of all wrongdoing.

Couple things I will say now.

  1. I was never expelled from the high school.

  2. I transferred to a new high school and graduated.

  3. I do not know what happened to the other students involved last I heard they transferred to an alternative school for troubled teens and graduated.

  4. Most of the people in the reports testified in the jury trial for the defendants including the principal and officers involved.

  5. The trial consisted of them bringing multiple friends in saying I threatened to kill them also. This is actually a very important piece because they tried to paint a picture of me doing this to multiple people.

  6. My lawyer was very good and caught the people testifying for them in multiple lies.

  7. It took less than 1 hour for the jury to side in my favor.

Edit- Thank you for the questions I appreciate all the support from Reddit. I have removed all the documents thank you for taking the time to read and make your own conclusions.

Comments: 3966 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

hoopllaaaaa1645 karma

What happened to the girls?

Summonme2158 karma


Edit- Since this happened when the girls were under 18 their parents were held liable not the girls. so technically speaking nothing happened to them. their parents had to cover the damages.

Daveed84570 karma

Why didn't you sue them for defamation and emotional distress?

Summonme812 karma

I did read the news report

DaTroof895 karma

Your mostly brief replies are making for a crappy IAMA.

Summonme224 karma

sorry I am trying to answer the questions faster I will slow down and provide more details.

maveric1k284 karma

What was the outcome for suing them for defamation of character?

Edit: the last news article appears you were vindicated but it's difficult to read. Were you awarded any type of monetary compensation for attorneys fees incurred and the like?

Summonme524 karma

small fee nothing that covered the cost of tuition or lawyers fees

aiiye1241 karma

Did these people ever apologize for attempting to ruin your life and those of your friens for (what I can see anyway) as no goddamn reason?

Summonme1490 karma


floppet946 karma

Why did they decide to falsely testify against you?

Summonme985 karma

My guess can only be that they were friends with the parents, one of the girls father was friends with a number of the sheriffs and school administrators.

Baked_Otter778 karma

Not how, but why did they do it? Were they just assholes? Did you do something to provoke it?

Edit: I are stupid.

Summonme1260 karma

During the trial one of the girls that said I threatened her said it was because they were the popular girls and I was jealous, not that I look back I think of the movie Mean Girls and think they did it just because they could.

edit- i want to specify i only mean this in my case as for the other boys they had every right to report them.

tietgen763 karma

Do you hate or resent your accusers today?

Summonme1419 karma

Sometimes I feel like I should because they ruined my high school years and that followed me to my new school. But most of the time I don't even think about them. I am no longer in that state so why let it bother me.

logblobo727 karma

How did you mentally recover from a false allegation like that? Did it make you want to do exactly what they suggested?

Summonme999 karma

No it didn't make me want to do it but I did suffer from depression for a while, after I moved to a new school and made new friends it got better.

goddamit_iamwasted617 karma

how did you cope with the feeling of helplessness in the beginning? did your parents believe you right away.

Summonme1068 karma

No my parents did not believe me at all, and that was really crushing to me. It wasn't until the police report and the school tried to get my parents to sign forms saying they are withdrawing me that they actually started to believe me.

NomyourfaceDinosaur660 karma

Did your parents at least apologize to you, and do you hold any resentment toward them?

Summonme1026 karma

yes they did, and no i do not.

BDS_UHS591 karma

Ok, so I'm probably the only person who read the actual police reports and documents provided by the OP as opposed to rubbing myself into a misogynist circlejerk, and I have a few questions:

  • From what I understand, it seems like your friends were the ones making graphic and violent statements, and you were largely an innocent bystander who got grouped in with them by association. Would you say that's correct?

  • Because three of the four individuals accused were actually guilty of making threatening and graphic statements (you being the one who wasn't), would you say it is at least possible some of the accusers forgot or misremembered who said what? Everything they said about your friends was true; you were the only one who was the victim of false statements. I think most of the people in this thread don't realize that.

  • Do you regret associating with those students who made the comments? Do you think they deserved punishment for what they said?

  • Do you think the outcome may have happened differently had your friends not admitted to the police that they made such graphic threats and statements?

  • How do you think this situation could have been handled differently? What should schools do when faced with an accusation that a student has threatened violence?

Thanks for your time.

EDIT: Several people have pointed out how the girls "egged them on" or "provoked them" into making the statements. As a normal individual, I'm pretty sure I would not respond "yes" to the question "do you plan to bring a gun to school?" and then provide graphic details about what I would do. The boys were completely in control of their own responses.

EDIT 2: This guy does a great job of explaining just how misleading and confusing the OP's statements are.

Summonme155 karma

ok please bear with me as I am not a very good writer. 1. yes you are correct I was guilty by association. 2. yes it is possible for them to forget or misremember. 3. This one is hard for me because i dont think they should have been judged on how they looked but after looking at the reports and the things they said i see now it would have been better if i didnt so yes. as for the punishment they received i dont think they should have been sent to an alternative school. 4. it could have if they all denied it that is possible. 5. I really dont know how to answer the last one im sorry.

Early-Cuyler553 karma

That's a really graphic police report. How do people think this type of stuff up? What do you think their motive was? (Other than just not liking you; what did they stand to gain?)

Summonme645 karma

I can only say i feel like the girls were trying to get them to say the most graphic things possible.

Nugget_Muffins233 karma

What about the part in the police report in which you were questioned by the cop and you said you would hack the cat and shoot people as a joke?

Summonme421 karma

The part your referring to was by TJ not by me.

HairyAssPanda474 karma

I was falsely accused of aggravated assault in high school so I know a similar frustration to you, I remember how horrible my high school handled it by just throwing me to the police and talking me to just confess and get the spot light off of the school, I was followed by a big Samoan security guard every day in between class for months, did anything like that happen to you? Did your parents back you? Mine did and it made everything easier.

Summonme408 karma

At first they didn't back me i was eventually forced to transfer schools.

regisgod419 karma

When you say your lawyer caught the people testifying in multiple lies, how did he do this? Was he just super clever and asked the right questions to catch them out?

Summonme777 karma

They brought in 2 friends of the girls, both of these students testified that I threatened to kill them, both of these students said they reported it to the police, and both of these girls said it happened in 2006. Now the first thing is none of their statements were mentioned in the police report except for one and that involved me slamming a door in her face both her and her mother said they told the officer that i threatened to kill her but the officer said they never did. and secondly in 2006 i was attending a different high school

Odessey_Oracle384 karma

I'm from Holland, so I don't really understand the American law system that much. My question is: Why did it take such a long time for this problem to be solved while the jury only took an hour to come up with a verdict?

Summonme176 karma

I am not a lawyer but the paper work back and forth between the lawyers, finding out who is actually liable for defamation, and there was a hold of a couple months as i was preparing to deploy to Iraq at the time so we had to set it back because of my training.

Nefarious_Lobster322 karma

What made the girls want to accuse you of doing something like that in the first place? I've seen plenty of teen drama, but I don't know why any girl would be as cruel as her to do something like accuse you of plotting multiple murder.

Summonme423 karma

I think I just got lumped in with the other three, They were Punk/goth and that didn't bother me since they dressed differently i still talked to them, but some of the things they said can be taken the wrong way.

nerddtvg163 karma

What are some things they said?

Summonme283 karma

In the police reports TJ tells the girls some gruesome things he would do when the girls asked him, this all happened in a different class than the one i was in. Hacky sacking a dead cat, peeling back their fingernails, 1000 papercuts, slitting their belly open and dropping their intestines out. slitting their throats, running a funnel from their intestines so they would have to drink their own blood.

tminus54321312 karma

What were you awarded in the lawsuit? (i.e. was there any justice? or did they get off clean, no punishment) Was the school found liable or just the girls? both? What was the reason these girls made this lie? What was the reason school officials testified for the students?

Summonme564 karma

Just the girls were found liable the school was protected by state law so we couldn't sue them, as for the award lets just say it was about 1/10th of how much it cost with transferring and lawyer fees.

Sluskarn235 karma

How does it feel to have this mess behind you and also, how was your life during those 3 years?

Summonme456 karma

Good when I don't go home, even now I still receive threats from people who i went to high school with who never left the town. Most recently happened at Christmas when i went home to see my parents.

heatherfly238 karma

What kind of threats?

Summonme492 karma

every time I go out to eat, movies, or the bar with my wife I am either asked to leave or threatened that i should leave if i know whats good for me.

flyingfalcon12233 karma

Did this happening cause any long term effects? Was it ever brought up in say, a job interview or anything of that sort Edit: fixed affects to effects. Edit 2: Holy crap! Just noticed that this is my most upvoted comment! Thanks you guy/gals!

Summonme327 karma

As of right now no.

Baked_Otter190 karma

What was your reaction when you found out? Were you able to attend class as usual, or were provocations taken?

Summonme319 karma

I didn't have any idea what was going on until i was called in by the police and school administrators. At first I was scared, I had to give a statement to the police, then later that night they showed up around midnight and searched our house for guns. The police told me it would be a good idea if i stayed home from school in the coming days, I didnt go back to that school but my sister was a freshman and she had to go back.

cuddlefucker126 karma

Did this have any adverse effects on your sister?

Summonme118 karma

One of my younger sisters who was in middle school was forced to transfer schools, the one in high school didnt transfer because she would have been forced to sit out a year of playing basketball.

15rthughes173 karma

What were the initial reactions you experienced? What about your friends?

Summonme382 karma

Pretty much as soon as people found out they abandoned me, Friends, teachers, co workers. my parents and siblings at first. I think I only have one friend who I still talk to from there.

Mr_Owl42155 karma

Why did it take 3 years for this to finally conclude? And why didn't/don't you sue them for ruining 3 years of your life?

Summonme245 karma

We were more focused on clearing my name since my family still lives in the community.

cabernetlust12 karma

Do your parents have any issues living in the community now? Do they receive threats in anyway like you do when home?

Summonme21 karma

no they do not my mother is respected in the community

toby1117141 karma

How did your family react to the accusation?

Summonme234 karma

At first they didn't believe me, it took my parents a couple weeks to start believing me and that's when they started legal actions.

TheJaybo95 karma

Is there a reason your parents had so much trouble believing you? I can't help but think if this were to happen to me, my parents would be among the only people who actually did believe me.

Summonme192 karma

My mom said its because she never believes anything her children tell her till she knows the facts.

sweetballsaction119 karma

How did the girls manage to gather enough information to convince anyone in the first place?

Summonme169 karma

They told the girl they said I wanted to kill and her parents went to the police.

I_Just_Queefed_AMA208 karma

i've read this sentence countless times and I still don't understand it.

nojp200 karma

The girls who wrongly accused OP, for whatever reason, told a third party girl that OP wanted to kill them, so the third party girl had to take the threat seriously and launched the whole investigation. They didn't file the policy report themselves, is what OP meant, I believe

Summonme119 karma

Yes thank you.

NahIReddit110 karma

What are the steps (if any) to completely clear your name? Will this show up in a background check for the rest of your life?

Summonme216 karma

since I was never charged with anything it wont show up in background investigations.

oatmealbatman147 karma

FYI if you ever apply to take the bar exam in your state (to practice law), the bar examiners require that you disclose every instance of litigation you were involved in, even if it never appeared on your record or was later expunged, etc. If their investigators find something in your past that you didn't disclose, they may prevent you from taking the bar. Other skilled professions may require the same amount of disclosure.

Summonme141 karma

thank you I did not know that.

Hail-Santa102 karma

Damn dude, I don't have any questions, but I hope your future wasn't affected too badly by the false accusations.

Summonme272 karma

thank you it hasn't i'm married now and have a healthy career in the military.

logrusmage79 karma

If you were a girl, and your accusers two boys, do you think that would have made a difference in how seriously everyone took the incident? Or do you think the police were unbiased?

Summonme173 karma

Yes i do believe that, the father of the girl i supposedly threatened to kill was friends with the county prosecutor, also none of the names i gave as witnesses were ever investigated by the police

Tehcoolhat74 karma

Were you at least compensated for your legal fees, troubles, frustration, etc.?

Summonme136 karma

we got a small fee from them but nothing to cover legal fees and tuition fees.

Toadmaster61 karma

What did the other guys say that made the girls think this?

Summonme103 karma

read the statements some of the shit they said is kinda gruesome.

crismireles9456 karma

If you were to see those girls again, what would be your reaction?

Summonme146 karma

saw one of them at a bar at christmas didnt say anything to her

SoulPursuer38 karma

How much money did this cost you to sort out? Do you get it back?

Summonme77 karma

that I dont know even now my parents wont tell me the actual cost as for getting it back, no. But my parents were more interested in clearing our family name.

Sandpaper328 karma

Did the girls have any motives for doing this, or did they just think it would be funny to ruin someones life?

Summonme47 karma

I don't know their reasoning behind it.

turbie27 karma

It is sad that being Gothic matters in this or any case. I have naturally pale skin, almost black hair and light eyes, because of this dark red lipstick, black eyeliner and dark colored clothing looks amazing on me. I have spend the last 19 years telling people I am not gothic, depressed, violent, or any of that. That being said, are you Gothic?

Summonme37 karma

No I was not, I was a nerd who liked computers and video games i wore shirts with those stupid sayings on them and jeans i dont even like black like that.

Summonme25 karma

I have the audio files from the jury trial they can be requested from the courthouse they require a program called FTR gold to listen to.

papacap2524 karma

How did your lawyer catch them in the lie? What was said? What were the repercussions for you if you were found guilty?

Summonme32 karma

They brought in 2 friends of the girls, both of these students testified that I threatened to kill them, both of these students said they reported it to the police, and both of these girls said it happened in 2006. Now the first thing is none of their statements were mentioned in the police report except for one and that involved me slamming a door in her face both her and her mother said they told the officer that i threatened to kill her but the officer said they never did. and secondly in 2006 i was attending a different high school as for repercussions it would probably just destroyed our name in the community

dinxusa23 karma

Did you win the civil suit against the girls?

Summonme47 karma