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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on

radcen

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on

Dear Amy: A while back, an heirloom necklace of mine went missing.

The only person to visit me recently had been my adult niece. I asked my niece why she took my necklace and told her to return it immediately.

My niece kept denying she had even seen my necklace. I was furious with her for lying to me.

I went to the police and pressed charges against her for stealing. A few weeks later I found my necklace in the pocket of a coat I had forgotten about.

I had wrongfully accused my niece of stealing from me and had pressed charges against her!

I’m ashamed to admit that I also insulted her as a parent, her young children and blasted her on several social media sites during those weeks.

We live in a small tight-knit community, so word traveled quickly. I was told by another family member that my niece told them she could not even go to the store now without getting dirty looks.

I have, of course, dropped all charges against her and told her I made a mistake. I said, “Let’s put this ugly incident behind us and forget it happened.”

My niece will not speak to me! Her husband told me that my accusations have caused my niece a great deal of anxiety and she’s been sleeping poorly, and having migraines because of what happened.

I just want everything back to how it was before all of this. A close friend suggested that since I publicly humiliated my niece, a public apology would be a good place to start.

I’m ready to drop the whole incident and forget it ever happened, and see no need in continuing to refer back to it.

Older but Not Wiser

~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?
 

Captain Adverse

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on

I just want everything back to how it was before all of this. A close friend suggested that since I publicly humiliated my niece, a public apology would be a good place to start.

I’m ready to drop the whole incident and forget it ever happened, and see no need in continuing to refer back to it.


I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

The most telling part as to why the niece should permanently keep her distance (aside from the fact of the criminal complaint and the libelous posts) is the fact this self-centered woman can't see she that she really is NOT sorry for the problem she caused.

A person truly sorry would do everything possible to clear the air and correct the harm. She was public in her condemnation, she should be equally public in her contrition.

This would include the most public apology possible, along with posts on every site countering the libelous ones, paying for a local newspaper advertisement, and passing out flyers all over town if necessary.

Her niece's reputation has been permanently sullied. Once something goes out to the public in the news or over the internet it is out there forever. Consider what happened to that Lacrosse team falsely accused of rape (Duke Lacrosse). Millions of people still believe they were guilty all along.

A truly contrite person would take extraordinary steps to fix this; something this obviously unrepentant, self-centered individual refuses to do because it would clearly embarrass her publicly.
 
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Skeptic Bob

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The aunt sounds like a horrible person. It sounds like the community is still treating the niece poorly due to the false accusation so how the hell is she supposed to put it behind her? The aunt should publicly apologize and even then the niece would be more than justified in wanting nothing to do with her.
 

Beaudreaux

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There's no fixing that. The aunt is a selfish bitch and should be ignored as if she is no longer a family member. She (the aunt) doesn't even recognize that she is the problem. The niece should just move on and chalk it up to how she should never treat her family members as she gets older. The community is going to believe and think what they want, regardless, so ignore them as well.
 

CanadaJohn

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

I noticed this in the paper today and I agree with your take. Even taking into account that older people (I'm in that category or on the express bus getting there) can be forgetful and absent minded, so misplacing the necklace is reasonable. What isn't reasonable, and speaks to the character of the aunt, is her immediate accusation against the niece and escalating it to a police report. And small town, my ass - the only way it became known would have been word of mouth from the aunt and everyone she told.

I hate to see an older person isolated, but she deserves all the scorn and she shouldn't expect her niece ever again to want a relationship with her.

And as an aside, the first thing I thought about when reading the story was that the aunt should package up the heirloom necklace and send it off to her niece as a gift and tell her even if she never wants to speak with her or visit her again, she wants her to keep it and pass it down in her family as a reminder that family is precious and should be respected and nurtured.
 

_Sal

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Sure I'd put it behind me....along with auntie

the woman is a menace, and crazy as all get out

next time the niece visits who knows what will happen

there's no fixing crazy but there is a way avoid it
 

_Sal

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And as an aside, the first thing I thought about when reading the story was that the aunt should package up the heirloom necklace and send it off to her niece as a gift and tell her even if she never wants to speak with her or visit her again, she wants her to keep it and pass it down in her family as a reminder that family is precious and should be respected and nurtured.

yes that would be the balanced thing to do

however like we were talking about in the other thread...balanced would never have landed here to begin with

the niece should run and never look back, family be damned, family is who supports us when we have need
 

JANFU

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yes that would be the balanced thing to do

however like we were talking about in the other thread...balanced would never have landed here to begin with

the niece should run and never look back, family be damned, family is who supports us when we have need

Get the feeling this Aunt has had family problems previously?? And she was the cause
 

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What a cvnt of an aunt. As others pointed out, as bad as the baseless accusations are and the way she handled the matter, her reaction to her blunder and what it caused her niece is on a whole different level of douchbaggery. I wouldn't want to have anything to do with such a horrible person, aunt or otherwise.
 

poweRob

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

I've got no respect for people who make a public scene but then come to you behind closed doors to make a private apology. It's gutless and meaningless.

You must apologize in front of at least as many people you screwed up in front of. And the apology should happen in front of as many of the same people the screw up happened in front of as possible.

If you humiliated someone with witnesses and your apology didn't reach those witnesses, then those unknowing witnesses could do further damage by spreading untrue rumors that inhibit the person further.

Small community eh? Then repost apologies on all sites she condemned her in and a letter to the editor in that small community's local paper would be a good start.
 
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JANFU

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I've got no respect for people who make a public scene but then come to you behind closed doors to make a private apology. It's gutless and meaningless.

You must apologize in front of at least as many people you screwed up in front of. And the apology should happen in front of as many of the same people the screw up happened in front of as possible.

If you humiliated someone with witnesses and your apology didn't reach those witnesses, then those unknowing witnesses could do further damage by spreading untrue rumors that inhibit the person further.

Small community eh? Then repost apologies on all sites she condemned her in and a letter to the editor in that small community's local paper would be a good start.

Exactly- a public and well distributed apology- face to face, newspaper adds, to calling family member and apologizing. The niece was publicly humiliated, she must have a very public apology.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

She needs to stand on a street corner with a sandwich sign that says "I FALSELY ACCUSED MY NIECE OF STEALING! I HAD THE NECKLACE IN MY COAT POCKET! I AM A COMPLETE MORON!"

And do that every weekend until her niece stops getting nasty looks - which should take place pretty damned quick because that would spread like wildfire. She'd be owning up and making a personal statement.
 

Fearandloathing

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?




"My niece will not speak to me! Her husband told me that my accusations have caused my niece a great deal of anxiety and she’s been sleeping poorly, and having migraines because of what happened."

The mere fact she has to ask what to do is striking. My advice to her would be "you're a bitch through and through, don't change but never ask why everyone hates you."

The niece should move onto move on, but forget the aunt. She is not the kind of person anyone needs in their life.
 

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

Holy ****, if one of my sisters did this to one of my kids... Thank god they never would.
 

polgara

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I noticed this in the paper today and I agree with your take. Even taking into account that older people (I'm in that category or on the express bus getting there) can be forgetful and absent minded, so misplacing the necklace is reasonable. What isn't reasonable, and speaks to the character of the aunt, is her immediate accusation against the niece and escalating it to a police report. And small town, my ass - the only way it became known would have been word of mouth from the aunt and everyone she told.

I hate to see an older person isolated, but she deserves all the scorn and she shouldn't expect her niece ever again to want a relationship with her.

And as an aside, the first thing I thought about when reading the story was that the aunt should package up the heirloom necklace and send it off to her niece as a gift and tell her even if she never wants to speak with her or visit her again, she wants her to keep it and pass it down in her family as a reminder that family is precious and should be respected and nurtured.

Greetings, CJ. :2wave:

I would not accept that necklace from the aunt on a bet! :no: The aunt sounds unstable, at best, judging from her actions toward her family, and what is it going to look like if her niece ever wears the thing in the future, even after the aunt has died - the aunt would look justified in her complaint about the "theft!"

I agree with those here who have posted that a public apology should be made to the niece, who was an innocent victim of a mistake made!
 

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

$20 says the aunt is an alcoholic. It's classic behavior.
 

poweRob

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Exactly- a public and well distributed apology- face to face, newspaper adds, to calling family member and apologizing. The niece was publicly humiliated, she must have a very public apology.

It can be fixed. time will help but her doing this will help a lot. If it were me I'd do all I said and make a HUGE mea culpa. "I totally screwed up. I'm beyond a complete jerk and I'd consider myself extremely lucky if she would ever forgive me for the horrible thing I did." Do that on TV or in the local paper headlined by a picture of yourself.
 

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

I'd sue her in small claims court, if only to air it out in a public forum and make it a matter of public record that I had not stolen the necklace, and the aunt is a mean, vindictive witch. The charges filed are a matter of public record, and there is no public record to counter that.

It sounds harsh, but what the aunt did was very harsh. She didn't just accuse, she filed charges. THEN she also sullied the niece's name on social media. There's no excuse for that. There was no evidence of the niece stealing the necklace. And the niece needs to make it public that she definitely did not steal the necklace. A mere statement by the aunt to a few people that she found the necklace won't suffice. Some people will think the niece gave the necklace back in return for the aunt saying she found it.

Then I would erase the aunt from my memory. I would want nothing to do with a person like that. It wasn't that the aunt assumed the niece had done it. It was what the aunt did about it...the social media thing, especially. There is no rolling back the clock to get one's reputation totally back. Like when a man is accused of rape, but cleared of the charges. There will always be those who think he did it.

This forms the basis of a lawsuit, because there was no evidence whatsoever.
 
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EMNofSeattle

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I will play devils advocate for a second.

Since no one actually known this family on this forum (or if they do they won't ID them) let's flip it around, does the aunt blame the niece because the aunt is a bad-itch or because the niece had previously stolen or committed an act of moral turptitude?

that is rub, if it came out that niece had stolen in the past it makes the aunt's actions more objectively reasonable.

regardless though I would agree with the niece, since this was a false accusation, involving the police no less, I would stay away from such a person. and good thing her husband is keeping aunt's communications at the gate.
 

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I will play devils advocate for a second.

Since no one actually known this family on this forum (or if they do they won't ID them) let's flip it around, does the aunt blame the niece because the aunt is a bad-itch or because the niece had previously stolen or committed an act of moral turptitude?

that is rub, if it came out that niece had stolen in the past it makes the aunt's actions more objectively reasonable.

regardless though I would agree with the niece, since this was a false accusation, involving the police no less, I would stay away from such a person. and good thing her husband is keeping aunt's communications at the gate.

She could have offered up such a thing if that was behind her reasoning.
 

radcen

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I'd sue her in small claims court, if only to air it out in a public forum and make it a matter of public record that I had not stolen the necklace, and the aunt is a mean, vindictive witch. The charges filed are a matter of public record, and there is no public record to counter that.

It sounds harsh, but what the aunt did was very harsh. She didn't just accuse, she filed charges. THEN she also sullied the niece's name on social media. There's no excuse for that. There was no evidence of the niece stealing the necklace. And the niece needs to make it public that she definitely did not steal the necklace. A mere statement by the aunt to a few people that she found the necklace won't suffice. Some people will think the niece gave the necklace back in return for the aunt saying she found it.

Then I would erase the aunt from my memory. I would want nothing to do with a person like that. It wasn't that the aunt assumed the niece had done it. It was what the aunt did about it...the social media thing, especially. There is no rolling back the clock to get one's reputation totally back. Like when a man is accused of rape, but cleared of the charges. There will always be those who think he did it.

This forms the basis of a lawsuit, because there was no evidence whatsoever.
I had thought about the niece suing for libel/slander, but I wonder how far that would go. At the time the aunt defamed the niece the aunt honestly believed it to be true. I'm pretty sure that libel/slander requires intent to defame for things that are known (or should be known) to not be true.

Unfortunately, for the niece, there is no law against being a selfish arrogant bitch after-the-fact, so nothing to sue for there.


I will play devils advocate for a second.

Since no one actually known this family on this forum (or if they do they won't ID them) let's flip it around, does the aunt blame the niece because the aunt is a bad-itch or because the niece had previously stolen or committed an act of moral turptitude?

that is rub, if it came out that niece had stolen in the past it makes the aunt's actions more objectively reasonable.

regardless though I would agree with the niece, since this was a false accusation, involving the police no less, I would stay away from such a person. and good thing her husband is keeping aunt's communications at the gate.
I get your point, but every instance should stand on it's own.
 

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I had thought about the niece suing for libel/slander, but I wonder how far that would go. At the time the aunt defamed the niece the aunt honestly believed it to be true. I'm pretty sure that libel/slander requires intent to defame for things that are known (or should be known) to not be true.

Unfortunately, for the niece, there is no law against being a selfish arrogant bitch after-the-fact, so nothing to sue for there.



I get your point, but every instance should stand on it's own.

In small claims court it would be easier. All that is required is that it is not true. Anyone can say they "believed" it was true. That has no bearing. Someone could go on line and say that Jim Bob Smith is a child molester. There's no evidence of it, but someone could say, "Well, I believed he was." Belief doesn't matter. Either something that could be slanderous is true or it's not.

She would probably win easily. I would do it, only because the relative was so malicious and went overboard in damaging the person's reputation. She behaved atrociously and unreasonably. Filing a police report is one thing. Going onto social media and telling the world that someone is a thief is quite another. You better have proof to back that up, if you do that sort of thing.
 

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Ask Amy: After a false accusation, aunt now wants to move on



~~~How would you answer this?

I'm amazed at the gall of the aunt. "Oh, I ruined your reputation, but let's act like it never happened, ok?"

Really?

It's funny how easy it is for the party who caused the damage to "move on" and "leave it all behind"; they don't stop to consider that it's much more difficult for the person they hurt.
 

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I don't buy it.

She 'pressed charges' with the police based on her say-so, with no evidence, no witnesses, no police investigation, no confession and well after the fact. It doesn't work like that.

Sounds like something made up to fill an advice column.
 
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