AP Source: NY finds no child abuse of Kennedy heir

Published April 4, 2012 3:36PM (EDT)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — An investigation by New York's child protection agency prompted by a Kennedy heir's attempt to take his infant son from a maternity ward has found no evidence of child abuse, according to an agency letter.

New York's Office of Children and Family Services investigated after Douglas Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was charged with child endangerment in February. An agency letter to Kennedy, dated March 30 and provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday by a person familiar with the case, says a report of suspected child abuse was determined to be unfounded.

The person who provided the letter acted on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been made public.

A call Wednesday to the agency was not immediately returned.

The endangerment charge stemmed from Kennedy's attempt on Jan. 7 to take the newborn boy from the maternity ward at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, 33 miles from Manhattan.

The child protection 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. 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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