Friday, April 9, 2010

Boston Media Outlets Sued for Alleging 'Sex Acts' Between Plaintiff and Inmate

WHDH-TVImage via Wikipedia
The Boston Herald and WHDH-TV Channel 7 (an NBC affiliate) were sued for defamation in  Boston's Suffolk County Superior Court last month by a 27-year-old community activist who alleges the media  defendants falsely accused her of engaging in "sex acts" with her incarcerated boyfriend during a visit to the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater.

Joanne Marinova, co-director of the nonprofit Press Pass TV that works with youngsters to produce videos, denies having engaged in sexual activity with her boyfriend, convicted murderer Darnell Jones, in the prison's visiting area.  In previous press accounts, she has said that Jones was disciplined for the prison policy infraction of touching her knee during a visit.

The incident came to light when the media defendants reported in May 2009, about Marinova accompanying 67-year-old Mass. Rep. Gloria Fox on a visit to Old Colony in a story that suggested the pol had snuck Marinova into the facility for a conjugal visit with her beau.  A story by Herald reporter Jessica Van Sack prominently featured in the tabloid on May 28, 2009, began: "State Rep. Gloria L. Fox is under state scrutiny for allegedly sneaking a murderer's girlfriend--previously bagged for engaging in 'sexual acts' with the killer con--into a state prison in Bridgewater, the Herald has learned."  WHDH-TV repeated the allegations in a local news broadcast.

Marinova's attorney says the allegations against his client are false and have damaged her reputation in the social services community in which she has worked.  If the plaintiff is deemed a private individual, she only will have to prove the defendants were negligent in reporting the alleged false statement, a lesser evidentiary standard than "actual malice," that a public official or figure would have to prove, which  would involve showing that the media defendants published the alleged false statement with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard whether the statement was true or not.

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic blog! I'm from Cleveland and the funny thing is my cousin Mike Wilbon and I both turned down internships at the PD for different reasons.

    He got the money and I got the Civil Rights LOL.

    Anyway Joanna and I met at the radio station and became friends and I helped her get her lawyers. Most of what you need to know is here, but if you have questions give a shout. There is much much more than meets the eye going on here, search her name on my blog and you'll see.

    -The KingCaster