N.C. Reporter Found Not Guilty of Trespassing


A North Carolina jury has found WLOS-TV Asheville, N.C., and a former investigative reporter there not guilty of trespassing.

The civil suit had been brought by Havon Inc., the parent company of assisted living facility Pleasant Cove, following a May 2001 undercover investigation by the station into allegations of mistreatment of mentally disabled patients.

On the night of May 2, 2001, reporter Amy Davis was escorted into the facility by the supervisor in charge, who was concerned about patient care. Davis took video of medical records and of some patients while they slept.

The jury concluded that the supervisor had either the authority or appearance of authority to permit the access. The investigation resulted in a three-part news series and the facility’s downgrading. Pleasant Cove eventually lost its right to admit patients.