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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
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CBS Report on School Firing Called Libelous

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - CBS misreported that a high school had fired a police officer amid allegations of child sex abuse, he claims in court.

The 11-page complaint filed Friday takes aim at a Sept. 29, 2014, broadcast by CBS-3 Philadelphia.

Chris May, who anchors the evening news program, allegedly said: "A police supervisor at a Philadelphia charter school is fired over allegations of child sexual abuse. Howard Rubin is the suspect. He is accused in the sexual abuse of an underage male student. Rubin worked at the Multi-Cultural Charter School on North Broad Street."

Rubin says the news report included a photograph of him emblazoned with the word "suspect" and his full name. His complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas names CBS Broadcasting and May as defendants.

The false report led "countless viewers" to believe that Rubin lost his job because he allegedly sexually abused a minor male student, according to the complaint.

James Higgins, principal of the Multi-Cultural Charter School in North Philadelphia, said in an interview that Rubin was not fired in connection with any misconduct investigation or other wrongdoing.

Rubin's contract for the current academic year simply wasn't renewed, Higgins said.

The principal called the CBS news story false and said he received an apology from the network after it was aired.

Rubin accuses May and CBS-3 of knowing its statements to be false and yet acting "in reckless disregard of their falsity."

Though CBS allegedly admitted that its broadcast was false on Sept. 30, it kept the story on its website for two days after that admission, according to the complaint.

CBS said it could not comment on the complaint because it has not yet seen a copy of it.

Claiming that he has suffered harm to his reputation and "loss of standing in the community," Rubin seeks damages for invasion of privacy, false light and defamation borne of both negligence and actual malice.

He is represented by attorney Derek Steenson.

This wasn't the first time Rubin was the subject of a CBS-3 news report. He was featured on the network's website in December 2010 when he was allegedly shot in the neck and then robbed at Sunoco gas station. At the time of the incident, he was working as a security guard and had still been wearing his uniform when the gunman approached him. The alleged assailant was later caught and killed by the Philadelphia police.

According to a philly.com article on the aforementioned shooting, Rubin moonlights as a security guard for musical artists and groups.

He has a website devoted to his security services, thehiphopcop.net, but none of its content was available at the time of this writing.

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