AP Source: NY finds no child abuse of Kennedy heir

Published April 4, 2012 11:54AM (EDT)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — New York's child protection agency has found no evidence that Douglas Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, ever abused or mistreated his newborn son, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The Office of Children and Family Services investigated after Kennedy was charged with child endangerment in February. The charge stemmed from Kennedy's attempt to take the infant from a suburban hospital's maternity ward on Jan. 7.

A March 30 letter from the agency provided to the AP says a report of suspected child abuse was determined to be unfounded. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been made public.

The agency was called in after the arrest but the finding does not directly relate to the child endangerment charge, said Kennedy's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb.

However, he said, "It is our fervent hope that the Westchester district attorney will continue to evaluate this case and we remain hopeful that the D.A. will ultimately dismiss that charge."

Gottlieb said the finding was "the first glimmer of reason that has surfaced in this case since it erupted in the press."

The finding has nothing to do with charges of physical harassment against Kennedy stemming from the same incident at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, 33 miles from Manhattan. One nurse says Kennedy twisted her arm as she tried to keep him from leaving with the baby and another says he kicked her.

Kennedy, 44, has said he was protecting the child as the nurses tried to grab him. He and his wife, Molly, issued a statement in February that said, "Our simple desire to take our son outside for fresh air has been warped into a charge of child endangerment."

Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for District Attorney Janet DiFiore, would not comment. Kennedy, a reporter for Fox News, is due in Mount Kisco Court on April 12.

By Salon Staff

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