Men Accused of Assault Decide to Assault TV Reporter Outside Court Hearing
WTKR-TV: On the tape, James O'Leary reaches out to strike before Barbara Ciara asks her first question.
NewsChannel 3's Barbara Ciara and two photographers were attacked this morning while confronting the owners of a company accused of scamming the unemployed.
The owner and managers of Virginia Employment Services were in court Tuesday facing charges of assaulting a client.
Maria Garcia had filed assault charges against the owner of VES and its managers. The former client says she asked for her money back when they didn't deliver on a job and they got physical.
Those charges were dropped. But right outside O'Leary, VES managers Dana and Chrystal Harrison and a person acting as their bodyguard opened themselves to more charges and the entire incident was caught on tape.
Since March, NewsChannel 3 has been telling the stories of dozens of people who say they were ripped off by James O'Leary's company.
We've been investigating their claims that at the most vulnerable time in their lives, during the worst economy since the depression, VES charges them money to find them a job but never comes through.
In July, the attorney general filed suit against VES, accusing them of violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Not one time in our months of taking action investigations, despite numerous requests, has owner James O'Leary talked about his clients' charges.
After Tuesday's court appearance was the first time NewsChannel 3 had an opportunity to speak to O'Leary and we felt it was important to get his comments on behalf of the people who say they were ripped off by his company.
On the tape, James O'Leary reaches out to strike before Barbara Ciara asks her first question.
He then reaches out and damages one of our cameras. The damage to the camera may run into the thousands of dollars.
Photographer Brian Caldwell describes what happened: "He came up put his hand up in front of the camera like this and ripped the microphone off of it and a whole piece (of the camera) came off."
The man with O'Leary repeatedly asks him to stop when he sees him attack our property.
In the next frame, that same man acting as O'Leary's bodyguard grabs Ciara.
In the next few steps O'Learly strikes out yet again at Ciara and Caldwell. With each blow his friend keeps begging him to stop.
As they piled into the car, Ciara asks VES manager Chrystal Harrison for a comment. She answers by slamming the car door against her head.
NewsChannel 3 has filed charges for what we see as assault and the destruction of property.
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