AOL Patch has admitted it was wrong in lifting a photo off a local blog in New Rochelle, NY. In an email to Talk of the Sound blogger Robert Cox, Patch.com editor-in-chief Brian Farnham admitted the New Rochelle Patch local editor Allison Esposito misled her editors when questioned about the photo, and in fact lifted the picture.

This is even worse, considering the Hudson Valley regional editor for Patch Kathleen Ryan O’Connor wrote to MJD on Tuesday to say “Allison Esposito, did not plagiarize anything from Mr. Cox’s blog in any form.” She then added, “The objects in question — police generated mug shots — are publicly available and any similarity to Mr. Cox’s presentation of those public images is purely coincidental.”

That prompted Cox to respond via his blog, outlining all the steps he took when altering the pictures in photoshop. Farnham has now apologized to Cox and to clarify that O’Connor was misled. “The image she [Esposito] posted was, in fact, a download of the composite image you made from the police mug shots,” wrote Farnham in an email to Cox. “I sincerely apologize for this unattributed and unauthorized use of your image. We have extremely high standards of journalism here at Patch, and Allison did not live up to them. Her behavior was unacceptable and we are taking immediate disciplinary action. The image has already been removed from our story.”

“As this is all I had asked — remove it or give me credit — I consider the matter closed,” said Cox in an email to MJD.

You can read Mr. Farnham’s entire email to Cox after the jump.

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