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Orlando, Fla.— A sting operation by WFTV(TV) led to the arrest of a Palm Beach, Fla., prosecutor after, police report, he exposed himself to a girl he thought was 13 and tried to lure her into cyber-sex.
Police made the arrest in West Palm Beach, interrupting a trial that 38-year-old Ira Karmelin was prosecuting. The station was investigating pedophilia on the Internet using a Webcam and a young-looking staffer posing as an underage girl.
The Webcam video with Karmelin speaks for itself, the station said. "You see Karmelin's face, but let's just say that's not the first thing he exposed during the first video chat." WFTV reported that Karmelin asked his cyber-partner to take off her top (she did not) and told her, "I want you to be bad with me." The station said that, "when he was not nude, Karmelin was bold enough to wear a shirt with the criminal justice logo visible."
The station contacted police, who tracked Karmelin through his Internet account.
Karmelin, a former deputy sheriff who reportedly was considered a likely candidate for judgeship some day, has been suspended without pay and is free on bond.
Some journalism ethicists were critical of the report, contending that it amounted to entrapment and blurred necessary lines between reporting and law enforcement. Station news management did not return phone calls for comment.
CONUS Rides Again
St. Paul, Minn.— Three former employees of CONUS Communications, which ended most operations last year, have bought its satellite services division and are planning to restart the business.
"As soon as we heard that CONUS was reorganizing its business, we immediately took steps to secure funding, put together a business plan and contacted the company to let them know of our interest," said Todd Hanks, formerly vice president of satellite services, now president of ARCTEK Satellite Productions. Joining him will be Brian Stanley, former operations manager and Shawn Erickson, former project manager for Satellite Services.
Cox Re-Spins Webs
New York— Cox will relaunch its 15-station Web sites in 11 markets over the next month, hosted and jointly operated with Internet Broadcasting Systems. IBS says the sites "will focus on up-to-the-minute local and national coverage, weather, station programming, local events, and entertainment." The deal includes five city sites previously managed by Cox Interactive Media: BayInsider.com, SeattleInsider.com, goCarolinas.com, Pittsburgh.com and icFlorida.com.
Coakley Is Back at WSOC-TV
Charlotte, N.C.— WSOC-TV anchor Vince Coakley returned to anchor his 5:30 p.m. newscast just two months after brain surgery. Coakley, 37, took time off at the end of November when a brain tumor was diagnosed after he appeared to have lost his sense of smell. He will work part-time initially.
Barnes Joins KOIN
Portland, Ore.— Joe Barnes, who for five years was vice-president of news at KOMO-TV Seattle, has resurfaced in television as marketing director for Emmis's KOIN(TV). Since leaving KOMO-TV, the former news and marketing consultant has been director of strategic communications and media relations for Washington State University and has had previous marketing experience as vice president of news and news marketing for KTTV-TV Los Angeles.
Barnes said he does not expect to return to news but feels that his understanding of news will complement the news team and help him in promotions. It also gives the station three veteran newsmen in management with News Director Rick Howard and GM and former News Director David Lipoff.
WFOR-TV Miami will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its local aid campaign with Neighbors 4 Neighbors: A Decade of Kindness, broadcast Jan. 25. The program was hosted by station anchor and Neighbors spokesperson Maggie Rodriguez (pictured) and chief meteorologist and original Neighbors spokesperson Bob Soper. The campaign began following the devastating Hurricane Andrew in 1992.