The sharks are circling WCTV…

Florida News Center has learned that Tallahassee’s WCTV is being sued by the owner of a now defunct children’s fun center (Ollie Wallie’s). The owner claims that WCTV, its station manager and reporters Candyce Sweat and Jerry Askin defamed the station by spreading incorrect information about his business.

The suit states that a parent of  child at the fun center claimed that a fun center staff member inappropriately touched their child. The day after the report was filed with Tallahassee Police, WCTV reporter Candyce Sweat told people outside of the center that a child had been sexually assaulted there and asked the people what they thought. Sweat’s story ran that night on WCTV with reports titled, “Play time turns into crime time” and “Assault at Ollie Wallie’s.”

Later that week, the suit claims that, WCTV reporter Jerry Askin returned to the fun center and continued to approach people in the parking lot, looking for reactions to the “sexual assault.” WCTV reported multiple times on air, on Facebook and on Twitter, than an assault had occurred at the fun center.

However, the Tallahassee Police Department investigation states that no crime or sexual assault occurred at the fun center and no charges were filed.

The owner of the fun center claims that actions by the two reporters, station management and WCTV TV/digital broadcasts, lost business and was force to shut its doors.

Attorneys for the fun center owners told the Tallahassee Democrat said that the reports “spread like wildfire” and the “outcome was the doors were shut within weeks, if not days.”

Attorneys for WCTV responded to the newspaper that they “do not believe there is any merit to the allegation” and that “the station intends to defend itself vigorously”

Stay tuned to Florida News Center for pending details.

//partial credit to The Tallahassee Democrat

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10 2011

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