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Friday, April 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Man Wasn’t Defamed by ‘Peeping Tom’ Allegation

(CN) - A man accused of being a "peeping Tom" was not defamed by a neighbor's report to the police, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled.

Sean Keegan was accused of disorderly conduct, but the charges were dismissed. He then sued neighbors George Pellerin and Warley Frietas, and the condominium where they all lived, for making the accusations.

The defendants moved to dismiss Keegan's defamation claim under the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute. The trial court denied the motion, but the state high court reversed.

Keegan did not prove the defendants' claims were unreasonable, Justice James McHugh ruled.

"If one believes Pellerin's submissions, his telephone call was based, at a minimum, on a resident's complaint that someone was looking into windows, and on Pellerin's previous experience with Keegan," McHugh wrote.

"At least one other witness, Frietas, substantiated Pellerin's description of the events that occurred on the nights in question. ... Keegan simply cannot show that Pellerin's report to the police was devoid of factual support," McHugh added.

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