Iowa resident Peter Vidal and his daughter’s babysitter both lost separate defamation appeals against the man’s ex-wife regarding false accusations that he had naked pictures of the babysitter on his phone.
Peter was going through a divorce with Rujuta Vidal when their 9-year-old daughter claimed that she had seen a naked picture of her babysitter, Danielle Verhoef, on her father’s phone. Due to Verhoef's status as a minor, Rujuta subsequently notified the police about the picture. Garner, Ill. Police Chief Thomas Kozisek, however, ultimately determined that the woman in the photograph was not Verhoef.
According to Court House News, Peter Vidal and Verhoef “filed separate lawsuits against Rujuta for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Both cases were dismissed in the Iowa Court of Appeals.
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In his ruling, Judge Michael R. Mullins explained Vidal and Verhoef’s accusations that Rujuta aimed to frame them were unfounded.
“Peter and Danielle argue a reasonable trier of fact could have found Rujuta knew the figure was not Danielle but exploited the situation to gain favor in the dissolution action with Peter. There is no such evidence in the record to support such a finding or to generate a fact question. Rujuta testified she contacted police because she believed the figure was Danielle, whom she knew to be a minor, and she was concerned both for Danielle and her own daughter,” Mullins’ ruling reads.
According to the Globe Gazette, Vidal works as a dentist in Garner, Iowa.