9/24/03 – Philadelphia, PA – Alycia Lane jokes with co-anchor Larry Mendte prior to a 6 p.m. broadcast from CBS 3 studios in center city Philadelphia on September 24, 2003. On Monday afternoon July 21, 2008 the U.S. Attorney’s office indicted Larry Mendte for invasion of privacy for going into Alycia Lane’s e-mails. Jennifer Midberry/Philadelphia Daily News

First, for those who may be from out-of-town and don’t know the players, Larry Mendte is a former local TV news anchor, a typical middle-aged white male.

Alycia Lane is a younger, very attractive former co-anchor of Mendte’s.

Dawn Stensland is an attractive, popular local news anchor and married to Mendte, mother to his two youngest children.

Mendte and Lane have been fired in the last few months for controversial incidents.

Lane was involved in a late-night dust up with undercover cops in New York, one of a string of controversies surrounding the nubile news beauty.

Mendte was canned for tapping into Lane’s email accounts and leaking negative stories about her to the press. Mendte subsequently faced federal charges for the privacy violations, and pled guilty to those yesterday and now awaits sentencing in the matter. Stensland is steadfastly and classily standing by her man.

To say that any relationship between former local news anchors Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane would be a ‘May-December’ one would be a little off the mark. If we generally are able to live to 80 years of age, that divides the twelve months into 6.5-decade periods.

So in 2003 when Lane came to town and what Mendte describes as a ‘flirtatious, unprofessional, inappropriate‘ relationship began, the two would have more of a ‘May-July’ relationship. That is how close someone who is 30-ish would be to someone in their mid-40’s, but for some reason some folks still don’t get the attraction of a 27-32 year old woman to a mid-upper 40’s man.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jonathan Storm, who judging by his byline photo is more likely in Mendte’s age bracket, but out of Lane’s league, derides the possibility of a relationship. He calls it likely a product of Mendte’s middle-aged imagination, reasoning that Lane had “an ability to attract young hunks” and wondering why she would possibly go “all aflutter for her 50ish co-anchor?

Wake up, Mr. Storm. Young girls indeed go for older men all the time. Attracted to and by them, whether hunks or not, there has always been something attractive about an older guy’s softer looks, experienced demeanor, relaxed attitude, and of course at times money, power, and prestige.

The likelihood is that Lane came to town, got paired up with Mendte on the news, and they developed a relationship. Mendte was likely smitten by Lane’s looks, Lane seems a bit of a wild-child, and was probably attracted by Mendte’s status and charm.

In any event, they likely had a flirtatious relationship that had not apparently developed into an affair when Stensland found some incriminating emails regarding the relationship. She confronted Mendte, he backed off from Lane and put up a wall, and Lane likely reacted poorly as well.

Mendte and Lane went from dinner buddies and flirty friends to back-stabbing and rivalry. My take is that Mendte was drawn to her email by a combination of wanting to know what was happening in her private life, and wanting to get some dirt on her to give himself the professional edge.

He found both, and leaked bad items to friends in the media who made Lane look bad. She didn’t need a lot of help in that, when she acted like an ass and maybe worse in her New York police encounter late in 2007.

In the end, what once looked like a jovial pairing of a veteran male newcaster and the newcomer beauty queen co-anchor has crashed and burned, leaving professional and personal scars aplenty.

Alycia Lane once appeared to be headed towards becoming Larry Mendte’s professional, middle-aged muse, if not more. Now they both share the spotlight for reasons that neither could ever have envisioned or desired. It’s a damned shame how some who seem to have it all are willing to risk it for their ego, but there you have it.