A Tallahassee children’s center is suing WCTV, the CBS-affiliate in Tallahassee, for defamation. The station is accused of spreading false information about a sexual assault that hurt business and eventually led to the center shutting down.
The center, called Ollie Wallie’s, was investigated by the Tallahassee Police after a parent claimed their child was sexually assaulted by a staff member. According to Florida News Center, Investigators eventually determined that no such assault had taken place, and no charges were ever filed.
After the initial news broke, WCTV provided detailed coverage of the alleged assault by reporters Jerry Askin and Candace Sweat, who are both named in the defamation suit. (Sweat has since left the station, joining WBMA in August.) The lawsuit claims that Askin and Sweat’s presence in the parking lot, as well as the station’s reports of the alleged assault on the air and online, drove customers away and forced Ollie Wallie’s to close down.
Attorneys for WCTV told the Tallahassee Democrat that the allegations have no merit, and “the station intends to defend itself vigorously.”