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CBS Radio staffer sues WNST for defamation

Nestor Aparicio

A sports reporter for WJZ-FM has filed an $800,000 lawsuit against WNST-AM’s owner and two radio hosts for a year’s worth of alleged attacks through the airwaves and online.

Jennifer Royle claims that Nestor Aparicio, Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark used their blogs and the station’s Twitter feed to challenge her professionalism, saying she was having inappropriate sexual relationships with pro athletes and that she “looks like a stripper,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also claims that Aparicio questioned Royle’s journalism qualifications and Clark “published statements to unknown members of the media” saying Royle lied on her resume. Forrester published statements threatening violence, and Clark and Forrester both called Royle “trashy” and published “inappropriate statements” about her, the lawsuit states.

The complaint seeks $500,000 in compensatory damages and $300,000 in punitive damages for defamation, unreasonable publicity given to public life, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to the lawsuit, Royle’s “reputation as a journalist has been diminished, threatening future business prospects and her ability to obtain further or subsequent employment as a journalist.”

The attacks have resulted in so much emotional distress that Royle sought mental health treatment and is now on medication, according to the complaint.

Brian S. Goodman, of Hodes, Pessin & Katz P.A. in Towson and a lawyer for Royle, declined to comment.

The complaint was filed March 10 in Baltimore City Circuit Court. Aparicio, a longtime Baltimore sports media personality, blogged about the lawsuit Wednesday morning and vigorously denied the charges.

“You can search anywhere on the Internet you like and you will not find a shred of evidence that we’ve ever said or done anything more than tell the truth about her journalism skills and her outlandish behavior,” he wrote.

Stephen L. Miles, the radio station’s and Aparicio’s lawyer, called the lawsuit “totally frivolous,” adding that Royle’s lawyers were unable to produce the offending blog posts at Miles’ request.

“She is a public figure and they can say negative things about her,” said Miles, a Baltimore solo practitioner. “They haven’t said any of the negative things that they are alleged to have said.”

Royle is a Boston native who joined the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and WJZ’s 105.7 The Fan to cover the Baltimore Orioles after seven years of covering the New York Yankees. She announced last week on her MASN blog that she was leaving the network to co-host a baseball show for The Fan.

Forrester and Clark co-host WNST’s morning radio show. A search of their blog posts on the stations website found many instances where Forrester and Clark call Royle an Orioles “apologist” and criticize her for trying to cover Baltimore sports despite not being a local.

“As for that girl at 105.7, she can try to write about how much she loves crabs and Sabatino’s and Fells Point’s great view of the sunset, but the truth of the matter is that she’s here on scholarship,” Forrester wrote in January. “Three years from now, her apartment in Baltimore will be occupied by someone else and she’ll be in Chicago or Los Angeles or Miami or some other ritzy place where her pretty smile and expensive perfume habit will be part of some other station’s budget.”