“I’m overseas and my wife is back in Missouri and she has been constantly harassed by a neighbor, and he has made several threats to her and my son. Examples: “You better move or you won’t be safe” and “I’m going to kill your son.” He has threatened my son’s friends as well and just yesterday told my wife that he was going to wash out her mouth with buckshot. There are several reports filed with the Sheriff about his threats and harassment, and my wife is going tomorrow and file an ex-parte because she fears for her life. Several neighbors have witnessed his actions but are not willing to get involved, except for one that heard what he said yesterday. I have also made an offer on another house in Alabama so I can move her and my son away. Do we have grounds for a law suit or what other options do we have. The sheriff’s department has done nothing to help the situation.”
First of all, these threats are very serious. For their safety, your wife and child should get away from the neighbor as quickly as they can. The next step is to contact an attorney who can help them file a restraining order against the neighbor and make sure it sticks. However, restraining orders only help if the neighbor is reasonable. A restraining order itself won’t prevent the neighbor from continuing his behavior, it only allows the police to arrest him if he violates it. If your neighbor is bent on harming your wife and child, a restraining order isn’t going to stop him and the police may not be able to respond fast enough.
It sounds like you can bring broth criminal and civil charges against your neighbor. Criminally, your neighbor’s actions may constitute a Class D felony such as, in some states, harassment of a person under 17 years of age by a person over 21 years of age. Civil charges may include intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault. Your wife and child should contact an attorney to discuss all possible charges that could be brought against your neighbor.