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>>

  • Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

    Pete Seeger's environmental legacy lives on

    Pete Seeger's environmental legacy lives on

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:16:30 GMT
    American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger's passion for music and the environment embodied who he was every single day of his life. In 1966, Seeger co-founded the organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Ever since, Seeger's 106-foot-long sloop, Clearwater, has been sailing up and down the Hudson River to educate and inspire children to protect the environment.
    American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger's passion for music and the environment embodied who he was every single day of his life. In 1966, Seeger co-founded the organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Ever since, Seeger's 106-foot-long sloop, Clearwater, has been sailing up and down the Hudson River to educate and inspire children to protect the environment.
  • Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Prison officers block news crew from tourist site

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:25 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:25:19 GMT
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
    An upstate New York TV crew was threatened with arrest by corrections officers as they filmed at a public historic site on the grounds of an empty, soon-to-be-closed state prison.
  • New York suggests summer shutdown for Indian Point

    New York suggests summer shutdown for Indian Point

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:08 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:08:24 GMT
    A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors.
    A state agency is suggesting summer shutdowns at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the New York suburbs. The idea is to protect migrating and spawning fish who might otherwise get sucked into the plant. Indian Point takes 2.5 billion gallons a day from the Hudson River to make steam and cool its two reactors.
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