HUNTINGTON -- A Huntington woman has filed suit against a local television station, claiming it falsely accused her of abusing a child in her daycare business.
Kim Tomblin claims WCHS-TV broadcast a story on July 17 that shed false light on Kim's Kids Child Care Facility, the daycare Tomblin owns.
During the story, reporter Elizabeth Noreika stated, "A mother says she's taken her child out Kim's Kids Child Care in Barboursville because she says her son was sexually abused ... A woman says, this daycare in Barboursville abused her trust and her child ... She alleges her son was sexually abused while at Kim's Kids Child Care ... She also says the daycare's workers ... engage in other inappropriate behavior," the suit filed Oct. 14 in Cabell Circuit Court states.
WCHS anchor Rick Lord also said, "Serious allegations of abuse and neglect have the State keeping a closer eye on one Barboursville daycare," the suit states.
During the broadcast, the station showed clips of Tomblin standing in front of her daycare and of the report and certain words such as "smoking," Tomblin claims.
She alleges that throughout the broadcast she or daycare workers are depicted as the ones who abused the child.
But Tomblin insists the abuse was done by a child at the center, not one of its workers.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources investigated the incident and issued a detailed report on June 10, according to the complaint.
"The sole allegation listed in that report was the following: 'A boy at KIMS KIDS DAY CARE touched (child's name) inappropriately by sticking his finger in his rectum and grabbing his genitals," the suit states.
After the incident, Tomblin claims she received a letter on July 1 stating her child care license had expired and would not be renewed.
Tomblin appealed the decision July 8 and was allowed to continue operating pending the appellate process, according to the complaint.
After seeing the broadcast, Tomblin's husband, Bill, called the station to clear his wife's name and her business's reputation, but Tomblin has not received an apology, the suit states.
In addition, Tomblin claims the station has not issued a retraction of its statements.
Because of the broadcast, Tomblin claims she has suffered substantial damage to her reputation, mental suffering, annoyance, emotional distress and other pecuniary damages.
She also claims to have lost clients from her daycare, which has resulted in a loss of monthly income.
"The broadcast published by the Defendant on July 17, 2008 about the Plaintiff's business are defamatory in that they harmed its reputation, lowered it in the estimation of the community, deterred people from associating or dealing with her, and reflected shame, contumely, and disgrace upon the Plaintiff," the suit states.
Tomblin is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest, costs, attorney's fees, punitive damages and other relief the court deems just.
Cabell County Circuit Court case number: 08-C-878