A man who claimed local media defamed him with inaccurate details after he was convicted of child molestation could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his trial was not frivolous.

In May 2019, Brent A. Taylor, then 33, was charged with child molestation, forcible confinement and kidnapping based on allegations that he forced a 13-year-old girl to walk down the street in her car and then made him perform oral sex. on him.

During Taylor’s jury trial, AR testified that she got into Taylor’s car voluntarily and that Taylor did not pull her into the vehicle. The state therefore abandoned its theory that Taylor kidnapped the child by physical force.

Either way, Taylor was found guilty of child molestation, forcible confinement, and kidnapping. Allen’s Superior Court entered judgment against Taylor on counts of assault and child abduction, but overturned the detention conviction on the grounds of double jeopardy.

Taylor was sentenced to 40 years in prison for child molestation and six years for kidnapping. The trial court ordered that the sentences be consecutive.

Several print, radio, and television media reported on Taylor’s convictions. Among them was WOWO, a Fort Wayne radio station that ran a story saying Taylor had been sentenced to 46 years in prison in a child molestation and kidnapping case.

Specifically, the report said, “(A) prosecutors say he kidnapped and sexually assaulted a teenage boy in January 2019. Taylor pulled up next to a 13-year-old girl and asked her if she needed of a ride or wanted to make some money. After the girl told her no, authorities say Taylor grabbed her and took her to an ATM, then drove her to a church and sexually assaulted her.

Another report also set out the allegations in the probable cause affidavit.

The WOWO radio report said: “Brent Taylor will spend 46 years in prison for assault and child abduction. Court documents say Taylor offered the girl a ride while she was walking by a friend’s house in January 2019. When the girl said no, Taylor grabbed her by the arm and put her in his car. After forcing her to perform a sex act, Taylor dropped the girl off where he found her. Taylor was found guilty in a trial in March.

Taylor filed a pro se lawsuit against the respondents in June 2019, claiming they falsely reported that the kidnapping conviction was based on his act of forcing AR into his vehicle by grabbing his arm and making him perform a sex act. .

Nexstar Media, owner of WANE TV, another defendant, decided to dismiss Taylor’s lawsuit instead of filing a response, saying he failed to plead his defamation claims with due particularity. For its part, WOWO denied the material allegations and sought summary judgment.

The trial court has set WOWO’s motion for summary judgment and Nexstar’s motion to dismiss for hearing in September 2021.

In the meantime, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, a newspaper, appeared in the action in July 2021, asking the trial court to stay proceedings and conduct a preliminary review of prisoner disputes required by the Frivolous Claim Law, Indiana Code § 34-58-1-1, et seq. The Journal Gazette also asked the trial court for an order dismissing Taylor’s complaint as frivolous in law.

Taylor claimed the Journal Gazette made “several bold and false assertions” about why the dismissal of her complaint was justified under the Frivolous Claims Act, and claimed the lawyer misinterpreted and misrepresented applied the legal meaning of “frivolous”.

But the trial court issued an order dismissing Taylor’s claim under the Frivolous Claims Act, noting “[n]nowhere…plaintiff does not assert any specific statements made or published by any of the defendants…. »

The trial court further observed that reporting on Taylor’s conviction and conviction for sexual assault and child abduction does not constitute defamation, as such reporting would be “truthful and on matters of public interest”.

On appeal, the COA upheld the trial court’s decision in Brent A. Taylor vs. Tom Antisdel, et al., 21A-CT-1934.

“Here the record is devoid of any facts to overcome the qualified privilege applicable to reports of public proceedings, and Taylor has alleged no facts tending to show that the respondents published their reports with actual malice,” wrote Judge Robert Altice for the court. “In fact, the record shows that the respondents reported nothing other than information contained in court documents and police records.

“Therefore, there was no reason for the respondents who reported the matter to doubt the veracity of what was contained in an affidavit filed with the court in connection with Taylor’s criminal proceedings,” continued Altice. “Thus, even if a false statement was published, Taylor cannot establish sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the respondents entertained “serious doubts” as to the veracity of their publications or that there was a “high degree of awareness that the statements were probably false”. .'”