As many of you may know, police arrested WSBT Chief Meteorologist Rick Mecklenburg and he was charged with two counts of false informing.
WSBT takes great pride in reporting local news in a manner that is accurate, balanced and fair… even if it involves one of our own. We also strive to be as transparent as possible. As part of that process, here is a statement from Rick:
“I need to address a situation that happened last week. As many of you know, I was arrested on two counts of false reporting. While I can't get into the specifics of that night, I can easily point to the cause: alcohol.
“My father was an alcoholic and drank himself to death when he was in his early 50s. Growing up in that environment and seeing the consequences made me vow that I would never touch alcohol in my life
“And, as my friends and family know, I never did drink until I was in my late 30s. At that time, I went through a divorce and turned to alcohol to help ease the pain of not having my children around. It slowly got out of control to the point of my being arrested last week.
“Sitting in jail was the worst experience of my life, but also a turning point. I haven't had a drop to drink since, and I have realized that I need some professional help dealing with the absence of my children. WSBT is helping me seek that help, and for that I am grateful. I am also very sorry for what I have put my WSBT family, as well as Schurz Communications, through during the past week. I know my actions were in no way consistent with the high moral and professional standards of this company. I know I let you down, and I am deeply sorry.
“I also need to apologize to the South Bend Police Department and the prosecutors of St. Joseph County for taking time away from what are obviously more important matters than a father who misses his children. I also need to thank the South Bend Police Department. Had it not been for their actions that night, I never would have realized how badly I needed help.
“Last, but not least, I want to address the viewers of WSBT. I want to thank you for the support I received from you. Literally thousands of people called, e-mailed, and sent me Facebook messages. I can't express my gratitude now, and I never will be able to. I was moved beyond words. I am also very sorry for what happened, and I hope you can forgive me.
“I will continue to provide you with accurate forecasts every day and night, occasional long nights of severe weather coverage, and maybe make you smile a little along the way.
“Again, I'm sorry, and thank you for everything."
Rick will return to the air Monday, December 13 at 5 p.m.