Douglas Kennedy acquitted in hospital case - FOX 13 News

Douglas Kennedy acquitted in hospital case

Posted: Updated:
Douglas Kennedy Douglas Kennedy

By JIM FITZGERALD | AP 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Douglas Kennedy, a son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was acquitted Tuesday of child endangerment and harassment charges stemming from a scuffle in a hospital maternity ward.

Kennedy had tried in January to take his newborn son from Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco. He said he just wanted the 2-day-old boy, Anthony Boru Kennedy, to get some fresh air.

However, several nurses objected, saying his request would violate hospital policy. Kennedy tried to leave anyway, and two nurses claimed he hurt them as they blocked his way.

Mount Kisco Town Judge John Donohue, who heard the case without a jury, ruled that Kennedy broke no laws. He said testimony showed that the baby was not in danger — except from the nurses' actions — and that Kennedy did not demonstrate any intent to hurt them.

The judge said he didn't have to rule on whether it was a good idea to take the baby outside.

"The Court is not determining whether the defendant's behavior was wise or prudent," he wrote.

Kennedy's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said Kennedy and his wife, Molly, "are thrilled that this nightmare has finally come to an end."

The hospital confrontation resulted in a series of alarms, including a "code pink," which is used to signal a baby's abduction. In his closing argument, Gottlieb called the alarm "preposterous."

The judge found that the nurses knew Kennedy planned to return and was not absconding with the baby.

Gottlieb argued that the nurses overreacted to Kennedy's request and when they realized the hospital would investigate, they "join together, get their stories straight and pressure the district attorney's office to bring charges."

He said they'd been told that any potential lawsuit for damages would have a better chance if a criminal conviction came first.

"This case from Day One was all about money," he said at a Manhattan news conference.

Nurse Anna Lane testified that Kennedy twisted her arm as she tried to block him from going through a door to a stairwell. Nurse Cari Luciano said Kennedy kicked her as she reached for the baby in Kennedy's arms.

Gottlieb said it was a push rather than a kick and was an instinctive reaction of a father trying to protect his baby. The judge said that explanation was "consistent with the defendant's demeanor" as seen on hospital surveillance video.

Kennedy fell during that scuffle but kept hold of the baby. Prosecutors said his actions endangered the infant.

"The fact that the baby was not injured is a miracle," Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto said.

But the judge said the nurses' actions — blocking the door and trying to take the child — "were intervening factors that caused the defendant to lose his balance."

Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for the Westchester district attorney's office, would not comment on the verdict.

Kennedy, 45, is the 10th of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. His father was assassinated in 1968. President John F. Kennedy, his uncle, was assassinated in 1963.

Douglas Kennedy's sister-in-law, Mary Kennedy, hanged herself in May in Bedford. His sister, Kerry Kennedy, has pleaded not guilty to drug-impaired driving after an accident on Interstate 684.

___

Associated Press Writers Jennifer Peltz and Colleen Long in New York City contributed to this report.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Police: Man drives off NY bridge, dies

    Police: Man drives off NY bridge, dies

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:10 AM EDT2014-07-30 10:10:33 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Police in Westchester County are investigating whether a man who died was drag racing when he drove off a bridge. They say the victim was driving northbound on the Saw Mill River Parkway when he exited and drove off the Ashford Avenue Bridge in Dobbs Ferry around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. The man was alone in the car.
    Police in Westchester County are investigating whether a man who died was drag racing when he drove off a bridge. They say the victim was driving northbound on the Saw Mill River Parkway when he exited and drove off the Ashford Avenue Bridge in Dobbs Ferry around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. The man was alone in the car.

  • NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    NY brothers invent machine that makes CPR easier

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:40:57 GMT
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
    Only 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander actually survive. But two young men in Westchester County have now patented a device that could dramatically increase those odds and save lives. John and Chris DiCapua's sitting room in their parents' Westchester County home has had a unique guest lying around for quite a while now: a CPR dummy. What began as an idea from their time as Boy Scouts is now a device that could potentially save lives.
  • Scenes for "Girls" to be shot at SUNY New Paltz

    Scenes for "Girls" to be shot at SUNY New Paltz

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:51 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:51:27 GMT
    Some scenes for the HBO series "Girls" will be shot at the State University of New York at New Paltz.  The series star and creator Lena Dunham will reportedly be directing scenes Tuesday afternoon on the campus 75 miles north of New York City.
    Some scenes for the HBO series "Girls" will be shot at the State University of New York at New Paltz.  The series star and creator Lena Dunham will reportedly be directing scenes Tuesday afternoon on the campus 75 miles north of New York City.
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices