Wednesday, March 28, 2007

McSwain case leaves a lot of unanswered questions

Matt Bolick has a lot of explaining to do.
So does 15-year-old Bethany McSwain.
And so does McSwain’s mama, Jill.

Bolick and the McSwains are at the center of a he-said-she-said tale of underage drinking, partying and bad judgment.

Two things are certain.

*Bolick, 39, an assistant manager at the Forum, was led away from the nightclub in handcuffs on Saturday. (That doesn’t look good for the city’s club industry.) He faces three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and four counts of giving or selling alcohol to a minor. Bolick is out on bond.

The Observer reported that Bolick is accused of allowing three girls - ages 14, 15 and 16 - into the bar and giving them mixed drinks. WBTV reported that Bolick is accused of taking the trio to his apartment and giving them alcohol, and then leading all three into the Forum.

*Taxpayers’ money was wasted because police searched for Bethany McSwain after her mother said she disappeared from home last Thursday. Bethany was found safely at UNC Charlotte early Tuesday morning after several students reported seeing her there.

Those things are certain, but how we came to that is confusing.

Jill McSwain has told the media that she discovered on Bethany’s MySpace page that her daughter was partying at the Forum and that she met Bolick on MySpace.

Bolick isn’t talking.

An e-mail statement issued by the Forum management on Wednesday read:
“On Wednesday, March 21st, The Forum staff was approached by a woman who stated that her 15-year-old daughter was inside the club. She was located, removed from the venue and then left with her mother. On Friday, March 23rd, the mother returned to The Forum to look for her daughter again. The girl was not inside the venue and has not returned to The Forum since she was removed on March 21.”

The club said it has no evidence that the allegations made against Bolick are true. The assistant manager is under temporary suspension. Club management also said that, contrary to media reports, the Forum has not been contacted by Alcohol Law Enforcement regarding any investigation or violations related to this matter.

Like I said, it’s confusing, but three people have some explaining to do. Bolick is a longtime nightclub veteran. Before joining the staff at the Forum, he worked as a DJ at Liquid Lounge. It’s unconscionable that he would knowingly give minors alcohol or take three teenage girls to his place.

Bethany has some explaining to do as well. Why is a 15-year-old sneaking into nightclubs? The only thing a 15-year-old is going to find at an adult nightclub is trouble. And has she really been chillin’ at UNC Charlotte the last few days while people looked for her?

Mama Jill isn’t off the hook either. If she dragged Bethany out of The Forum last Wednesday, how did her daughter disappear the next day?

If my mother had dragged me out of a club on Wednesday night, I’d still be recuperating in the hospital on Thursday.

Post your comments below.


JAT said...

Zackly right, Tonya.

Like I said the other day, "Where are the parents?"

But we also have to face up to this underage thing. Is it the exception or the rule Uptown?

The fact that as you note, a club vet, is somehow mixed up with 14 and 15 year-olds tells me the under-21 crowd plays a bigger part in the Uptown scene than anyone is letting on.

Anonymous said...

When my husband and I saw the story about the girl's "disappearance," we immediately thought that she had run away (probably to a friend's basement - we were close!) because she was (1) embarrassed about getting caught and (2) embarrassed at her mother's ridiculous media blame-game. It's easy to see the bouncer's responsibility - and clearly he is a scumbag - but the mother tried to present herself as so self-righteous and the child as an innocent victim. But why was the child even allowed out of the house on a weeknight?

Nobody's perfect, and I'm sure I will face similar challenges as a parent, but I hope to be able to own up to my role in situations and make my children face the consequences of their actions.

Anonymous said...

Two out of the three are nothing unusual: another parent who has failed in that regard, and another kid who has not overcome lousy parenting. The world is full of that.

I'm sure that each of them has a WONDERFUL excuse, but of course in the real world, there IS no excuse for that sort of behavior. And it is no one else's fault.

As to the asst. manager, if he actually did that, he's little more than a predator, preying on kids, and should be treated accordingly.

Concerned Citizen said...

Despite denials by The Forum, it's obvious that Bolick broke several laws and crossed moral barriers, even though he remains innocent until proven guilty.

It's more than plausible Bolick let the underage girls in under his authority, without other club employees knowledge or consent.

The girls were apparently at Matt's house, drinking and doing God knows what else. I can't think of anything a 14 or 15 year old girl would have in common with a 39 year old man. His interest in them could only be purely of a sexual nature. Given the fact they are children, this interest could also be considered deviant both in the eyes of the community and the law.

I can't understand why this man would risk his career and possibly his freedom on girls who still attend Middle School.

In any case, it begs an intersting question, and that is, how many times has this sort of thing gone on in the past? Odds are, this wasn't the first time Matt played party maestro to underage girls. Maybe the worst for him is yet to come.

Anonymous said...

I've known Matt for a very long time and even though I've since moved overseas for the last 5-6 years this strikes me as something the dude just wouldn't do. He's been doing his thing in Charlotte for a minute now and I've known him since his day job at the Cotswald Record Exchange. A veteran doesn't make a mistake like that becasue they already knows what could possibly happen. Fourteen, 15 and 16 year olds that he gave drinks to? I'm sorry I just don't believe it and I remember from my teenage years how girls at that age can twist everything around into some sort of distorted fairly tale. Keep your head up Matt and know that I'm hoping everything works out even as I'm typing this from Europe.

Jason Burleson