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Some Troubling Questions About Steve Babik's Arrest on Child Porn Charges

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:06 PM, under ,

Until today, Steve Babik was pretty much an unknown name to me. But as we found out today, he had been suspended by Florida in late November when they found out he was being investigated for child pornography possession and distribution. His employment status changed yesterday when he was formally charged in Federal Court.

So just what was going on, and why should readers be concerned about the whole sequence of events?

Operating under our long held legal principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty, we should as a society give someone the benefit of the doubt until there is actually a conviction. But that is not the reality we live with. Just watch Nancy Grace and how she convicts people on the air before they have even been charged, or in some cases even named as a suspect. Add child porn and/or child molestation to the mix, and passions really begin to flare.

And that is the position Babik finds himself in now. The venom directed at him via the internet is intense. If he is found guilty, then and only then, should all bets be off. But even if he is found not guilty, his life is ruined, both personally and professionally.

But some questions come to mind.

First, why did Florida take the move to suspend him before charges were even filed. This would probably have been appropriate when he was actually charged yesterday. Instead, he has been fired before he even has his day in court.

But fired he was, and Florida is removing any references to him from any public facing web sites faster than you can bat an eyelash.

Here is his GatorNetwork.com profile page as cached by Google on January 16, 2010 at 19:26:14 GMT:




And here is how that page looks tonight:



But the eradication effort is not just related to anything that says he still works for Sun Sports. They are changing history as well.

Here is the text from their web page talking about the 2009 Gator Football coverage team as cached by Google on January 16, 2010 at 01:25:27 GMT:

Gator Football on Sun Sports

In addition, every regular-season Florida football game is shown on a delayed basis on Sun Sports (within SEC territory), including the SEC Championship Game if the Gators participate. Sun Sports will regularly replay all games during its popular Sunday morning "Breakfast with the Gators" time slot. During the football season, "Breakfast with the Gators" will begin at 8:30 a.m. Veteran play-by-play announcer David Steele, former Gator and Miami Dolphin Nat Moore, and Steve Babik make up the "Florida Replay" broadcast team.

and here is how it reads today:

Gator Football on Sun Sports

In addition, every regular-season Florida football game is shown on a delayed basis on Sun Sports (within SEC territory), including the SEC Championship Game if the Gators participate. Sun Sports will regularly replay all games during its popular Sunday morning "Breakfast with the Gators" time slot. During the football season, "Breakfast with the Gators" will begin at 8:30 a.m. Veteran play-by-play announcer David Steele, former Gator and Miami Dolphin Nat Moore, makes up the "Florida Replay" broadcast team.

Here is where the web between Florida and Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports gets convoluted. In much of the coverage of Babik being formally charged, there is this generic statement from Fox Sports Florida:

"A spokesman for Fox Sports, which owns Sun Sports, said late Tuesday the network had terminated its relationship with Babik but declined further comment."

The language here is key. Even though Babik appeared on air with Sun Sports, he was not an employee of the organization. He was a freelance contractor. Even so, when you look at the talent page for Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports, you have no way of knowing who is full-time and who is freelance. And as of January 18, 2010 at 00:28:33 GMT, the Google cache of this page showed Babik as part of the Sun Sports talent team:



As of yesterday, he has been removed:



Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports has also removed an "essay" written by him that been on the site (again, this was still posted as of at least January 7, 2010 at 16:16:50 GMT. Like Florida, it appears that even though he was not an employee, they want to distance themselves as much as possible and as quickly as possible.

IF Babik is guilty, then he fully deserves everything thrown at him, including the loss of his jobs.

But what if he is found to be not guilty. How does he even begin to rebuild his life?

Updated on Thursday, January 21, 2010 to correct an error of fact pointed out by one of our readers.

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