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.

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