After his peers saw the mug shot in an Ogden, Ut., newspaper, a couple says their teenage son was subjected to teasing and bullying at his school and has suffered from depression and severe anxiety.
A Utah couple filed a defamation suit seeking millions of dollars from the Ogden, Ut., Standard-Examiner and Weber County over publication of their 16-year-old son’s jail photo from a juvenile court case on its website, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The picture, along with the teen’s full name and information about three allegations that had been filed against him in juvenile court, was included in the “Mugshots” section of the paper’s website April 10, the suit says. The photo and case information were obtained by the newspaper through a Weber County Sheriff’s Office software program that disseminates recent bookings to news outlets. The lawsuit in federal court seeks nearly $40 million in damages from the paper, the county, and Records Finder, as a Virginia company that hosts the PoliceArrests.com website, where the photo and allegations were also allegedly posted.
The suit accuses the defendants of defamation, putting the teen in a false light in the public eye and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Two of the allegations were dropped and the remaining one was resolved in a juvenile court proceeding, according to the suit, which notes that juvenile cases are considered civil, not criminal, matters. After his peers saw the mug shot, the teen was subjected to teasing and bullying at his school and has suffered from depression and severe anxiety, the suit says. His parents say they have suffered from “severe emotional and psychological trauma” and another of their children also has been heckled by peers and has had to endure anxiety and worsening depression.