A man has filed a lawsuit against WCTI Greenville (N.C.) and its longtime meteorologist, Skip Waters. According to ENCToday.com, the man, John Lero, says Waters gave him alcohol and illegal drugs and took advantage of him sexually when Lero was a minor.
Lero's lawsuit was filed in Pitt County Superior Court June 22. It also names WCTI, a Bonten Media-owned ABC affiliate.
The lawsuit claims that Waters had been something of a father figure to Lero before the relationship turned sexual; Lero had initially reached out to Waters because he was interested in a career in broadcasting. According to ENCToday.com, the meteorologist is accused of filing false charges against Lero for rape and kidnapping in 2006. The charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Waters indulged in alcohol, marijuana and pornographic movies with Lero, claims the lawsuit. WCTI is named in the suit because Lero says station employees knew about the relationship and did not act to prevent it.
According to the WCTI Website, "WCTI General Manager Don Fisher says the station launched its own internal investigation, but has received no evidence that any of the allegations in the lawsuit are true."
The station issued a statement imploring viewers to respect Waters' privacy.
"First, even public figures are entitled to the dignity of privacy. Second, judgments should not be made in haste. Based on the information available to us, we believe that the plaintiff's counsel has failed to provide any information to support the claims that the station did anything wrong. The station believes it has no liability in this situation and will defend itself against these baseless charges. The alleged incidents are of a private nature, and are not connected to the employee's role or responsibilities at the station."
Fisher said in the statement that Waters is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and that "appropriate action" would be taken should anything Waters has done be construed as inappropriate or in violation of company policy.
Lero is asking for more than $120,000, says ENCToday.com
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.