How do we defend ourselves in small claims court against a neighbor that provoked my son for almost a year by harassing him? She is 47 and he is 12. She didn't like the idea that I told my children that they cannot be friends with her daughter anymore because of her involvement in a nasty internet incident against my 10 year old last year that her daughter was involved in. Since that time she has done nothing but stalk, harass, photograph, videotape, stare, etc. everytime they walked by her house (which just happens to be across the street from their best friend's house). They have a surveillance camera aimed at the street where they walk and they watch them on their big screen tv. We told him to just ignore her, she'll go away. She didn't like that, so she just kept at it. She even brought people we don't even know into it. They stare and point fingers at us.He has even been brought down to the principals office on false accusations. We are a decent family; don't use vulgar language or gestures, teach good morals, etc.
After almost a year of this harassment, my son couldn't take the abuse anymore so he took a baseball bat to the surveillance camera (after she told him he was mental and needed a therapist). He was very upset. He would never have done anything if she didn't provoke. Unfortunately, because she is an adult (supposedly), he couldn't fight back to defend himself. Never once did she come to us stating she had a problem with him. She just likes to bully children.
Anyhow, he was charged criminally and he pled guilty and paid the fine. Next we receive a civil suit against us for the damage to the camera and the mailbox (?) and court fees. We understand he is probably going to have to pay for the camera, but we want to know how to go to court and present his case as to why he did it without sounding like he did it just because. Never has he done something like this. He's an honor student in school, well like by his peers and teachers.
Anyone have any ideas? This has been going on for so long, we are considering selling our house and moving, but we really don't want to give into her. We're not the type of parents that say "oh no, not my child. He would never do anything wrong. He's 12. All 12 year old boys get into mischief. If they are threatened, they are going to fight back. He just had no one to fight back to so he took out the first object he could get.
Also, her husband is the one who sits and watches my children on his big screen tv as they walk by his house. Kind of weird, huh?