Acclaimed Fox 5 reporter Charles Leaf was suspended Friday after he was accused of molesting a 4-year-girl inside his New Jersey home.
The 40-year-old Leaf was arrested Thursday at his Wyckoff home on charges of aggravated sexual assault on a minor and endangering the welfare of children, authorities said.
"Fox 5 management is aware of the matter and that Charles Leaf has been suspended pending further investigation," said a station spokeswoman.
Notice how Fox 5 management has NOT fired the employee, but is rather suspending him first and conducting an investigation next to make sure the charges are true BEFORE they fire him.
That's a kind of due process and it makes reasonable sense to, you know, look into charges before you fire somebody.
And Fox is treating Leaf like this even though when he called in sick to work on Thursday, the day he was arrested, he never mentioned the arrest.
He simply asked "for a day off to deal with family issues."
Now if Charles Leaf were a teacher, the very same Murdoch media machine would be clamoring for his immediate dismissal sans investigation.
Allegations would be reason enough to fire him.
An actual arrest would be "proof" that he needed to be fired.
Even though every once in a while, the police arrest somebody on molestation charges who is actually, uh, innocent - even in the school system that the New York tabloids like to disparage so much.
Take this man:
After days of falsely being portrayed as a child rapist, a Brooklyn school custodian broke down in tears yesterday as the charges against him were dismissed.
"Just kill me," a distraught Francis Evelyn, 58, muttered to family members who tried to soothe him as he left Brooklyn Criminal Court.
Evelyn had been led out of Public School 91 in Wingate in handcuffs on Monday and spent two days in jail at Rikers Island after an 8-year-old girl said he had repeatedly molested her in a basement bathroom between Feb. 1 and March 9.
But the Trinidad native knew he was innocent.
"I went through hell," Evelyn later told Channel 7 news.
He said he would never forget being in jail - his first time ever behind bars, the station reported.
"They were threatening me, and tell me they're going to take me out, they're gonna cut my throat," he said. "It's their sister, their niece. It was hell."
His niece Hazel Smith told the Daily News her uncle was devastated.
"He's been stripped. You don't strip a good man. It's like my uncle, he was raped also," she said. "He has neighbors, he has kids. He's good inside his heart."
But she said the family held no malice for the accuser.
"She has something going on with her life and my uncle had to pay the price for it," Smith said. "I hope the child gets the help she needs."
Questions about the case quickly surfaced after sources said the second-grader had been abused in the past and had recently accused another student.
Tuesday night, prosecutors rushed to court to request that Evelyn be released on his own recognizance after initially asking for $150,000 bail.
"People are dismissing the charges due to insufficient evidence," prosecutor Roger McCreedy told Judge William Garnett yesterday as Evelyn clasped his hands and bowed his head.
"Dismissed and sealed," Garnett responded.
School officials reinstated Evelyn to his job a few hours later.
PS 91's widely respected principal, Solomon Long, has been yanked from the post he held for 16 years for allegedly failing to report an abuse charge the child previously made against another person.
Long remains exiled at a district office, pending an investigation. The principals union is calling for him to be returned to his post.
For his part, Evelyn has one wish for his future.
"I want my name to be cleared," Evelyn told Channel 7. "I want to walk the street with my head up."
In the Murdoch world, Evelyn's name would never be cleared.
It seems only if you're a Murdoch employee, like Charles Leaf (or Bill O'Reilly, for that matter), are you given the benefit of an investigation before they tarnish your reputation for life and call for your immediate firing.
POSTSCRIPT: Leaf sounds like a typical Murdoch creep. According to the DailyNews, this isn't the first time he has found trouble:
Known for his aggressive style, Leaf, an ex-Marine, began working for Fox 5 in 2006 and has won two Emmy awards, according to his profile on myfoxny.com.
Leaf previously worked as a TV reporter in several cities, including Denver, Detroit and Mobile, Ala.
It's not the first time Leaf's conduct has become the subject of unsavory headlines.
In November 1999, Leaf, then a reporter in Mobile, Ala., was sued by a local councilwoman who alleged that the newsman attacked her while trying to interview her for a story.
Frela Wojciechowski said in the suit that Leaf pursued her to her car after a meeting and slammed the door on her arms and legs when she refused to talk.
Leaf abruptly left the station, WPMI. The suit was later settled, and no criminal charges were filed.
Interestingly enough, Bill O'Reilly employees have been accused of similar "goon tactics."
It seems the words "Murdoch employees" and "goon tactics" go together.