ORLANDO (CN) – The meter reader who found the remains of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony says The National Enquirer defamed him in an article that accused him of killing her.
Roy Kornk, a meter reader for Orange County, Fla., sued American Media dba The National Enquirer, in Orange County Court.
Kronk found the remains of the missing child in December 2008. The toddler had been missing since June and made national headlines. Her mother, Casey Anthony was acquitted of killing the child in a trial that fascinated and infuriated tabloid fans.
Kronk says the Enquirer defamed him in its Dec. 7, 2009 issue, with a red-and-black headline that stated: “Meter Reader Killed Caylee,” accompanied by a smaller-font qualifier, “Casey Anthony Says” and the kicker “Has a List of Prior Crimes,” in yellow.
Kronk says: “The statements above are false and defamatory statements.”
The article itself contains more false and defamatory statements, Kronk says, including: “‘inappropriate behavior with young girls’, ‘holding women against their will’, ‘using duct tape to hold [ex-wife] against her will’, and statement ‘That he had done it. He was probably the one that murdered Caylee or had something to do with it’.” (Brackets in complaint.)
The defamation contained in the headline continues in the first paragraph of the article, Kronk says, citing the sentence: “‘Despite overwhelming evidence against her, Casey Anthony insists she didn’t kill Caylee, but she knows who did!'”
Kronk says he is a private figure and was acting as a good Samaritan by reporting what he found to proper authorities.
He says The National Enquirer published these statements without taking regard for their truth or falsity, and did it with the intent to expose him to hatred, ridicule and contempt.
He says the Enquirer’s staff knew or should have known that the statements were false, and that proper investigation would have shown the statements were misleading.
At a minimum, Kronk says, the Enquirer was grossly negligent and malicious and intended to hurt his reputation.
He seeks punitive damages for defamation on its face and defamation by innuendo.
He is represented by Howard Marks with Burr & Forman of Winter Park.