Impact upon Siblings of False Child Sexual Abuse Allegations

Thomas Kennedy, a father wrongfully accused of raping his then 11 year old daughter, Cassandra, was convicted but eventually freed when the child came forward with the truth. Cassandra’s sister appeared with Thomas and Cassandra to discuss the implications for this family trauma on the Katie Couric show.

The siblings often suffer as a result of the child sexual abuse disclosure – whether it is truthful or not. The sibling is often placed in therapy to deal with the loss of the accused parent and to help support the victim child. But what of those cases when the accused parent is not guilty? In those circumstances where therapy is required for the sibling who does not believe the abuse, the forcing of therapy can be harm in and of itself. No matter how well-intentioned the professionals involved, the sibling’s resistance to believing that abuse occurred often prolongs the therapy required of them.

These difficult issues often plague the child welfare system. Therapeutic intervention occurs within the context of litigation. If you or someone you know requires help with these issues in child welfare litigation, please contact us at

Child’s Fabrication of Child Sexual Abuse on the Katie Couric Show

Thomas Kennedy, a Father wrongfully accused of child sexual abuse, sits with his daughter as she explains how very easy it was for her to tell the false tale of sexual abuse. Cassandra, only age 11, at the time she lied and accused her father of sexually abusing her, answers pointed questions by Katie Couric. When Katie asked Cassandra how she was able to concoct such a believable tale, she admits to weaving together fake details from television, a friend’s confiding in her that friend’s own experience with child sexual abuse, and the fact that she had been sexually active.

When asked by Katie how Cassandra could tell her tale so convincingly, Cassandra acknowledged that she made no effort whatsoever to try to be believable. She just made up the story, answered the questions posed to her and followed along with the authorities.

When Cassandra decided to come forward with the truth, she initially disclosed that she had lied to her mother, but feeling the shame of her original lie, she then recanted the truth! This second recantation made her mother believe that the recantation was really false. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence. Recantation is often attributed to a child’s feelings of guilt over the molestation and its disclosure, rather than the child’s feelings of guilt over the lie.

Thomas Kennedy faults his attorney for tactical errors he feels contributed to his conviction. Handling the intricacies of child sexual abuse in the child welfare context undoubtedly requires skilled counsel. If you or someone you know have been accused of child sexual abuse, contact us at

A Father Wrongfully Accused of Rape on the Katie Couric Show

Thomas Kennedy, a father wrongfully accused of raping his daughter, tells his tragic tale on the Katie Couric Show. Thomas, a recovering alcoholic, neglected time with his daughters before he became sober. Unfortunately, post-divorce, his daughter was seeking attention, calling out for help, and this was her plea.

Because Thomas is a recovering alcoholic, Katie Couric asked the question if there was any possibility that he did something – anything – and did not recall it. Thomas maintains that this was impossible, as he never drank when he had custody or care of the children. Apparently, years after the wrongful conviction, the child came forward and recanted the allegation.

The only evidence against Thomas was his daughter’s accusation. In New Jersey, in order for DYFS (child welfare authorities) to rely upon the child’s hearsay statements of abuse, there must be corroboration. N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(4). But, in Thomas’ case, his daughter took the witness stand, pointed to him and testified that he raped her.

And, sadly, many people ask the very question that Katie Couric posed to Thomas – why would a child tell such a heinous lie? That natural inclination to wonder makes overcoming such allegations particularly difficult.

Here at, we can help parents wrongfully accused of child abuse, including child sexual abuse.

Shaken Baby Syndrome Revisisted on the Katie Couric Show

Attorney’s perspective: Some of the glaring mistakes included the “usual” mistakes. Tension between law and science is the key. The conviction is based almost entirely on the science – doctors look inside the baby’s brain and see markers of injury that used to be deemed diagnostic of this ONE possibility – Shaken Baby Syndrome. Medically diagnosed murder – hypotheses based upon what might cause the injuries. This science cannot be robustly tested. After all, no one will design a study whereby babies are placed in a control group with shaking verse without it.

Doctor’s perspective: Old science verses the new science. In the 1990’s, doctors believed that a triad – bleeding the brain, eyes and brain swelling without an injury. Also, the medical professionals believed the manifestation occurred immediately. Thus, the most recent caregiver was accused. NOW, medical professionals say the triad of injuries (brain bleeding, retinal hemorrhages, brain swelling) may have been shaken, but there may have been other causes. Also, the timing has been extended, thereby increasing the potential “perpetrators”. The manifestation of injury may not occur for several days.

There are also experts that believe that an infection can cause a stroke. Children can have bleeding disorders, metabolic disorders, medical conditions, etc. Doctors are mandatory reporters and do not want to be the one who missed child abuse. However, now doctors are also recognizing the trauma of false accusations and are somewhat more cautious to make referrals.

Shaken Baby Syndrome revisited.

Audrey Edmunds on the Katie Couric Show

For Audrey Edmunds’ children, the distance was approximately 5 hours away by car from the jail. The girls did not come as regularly ver time. Visitation dwindled because Audrey’s father passed away, thereby limiting the ability for an adult to transport the children. As the girls grew older, they were busier with sports, friends, etc. Luckily, today – 11 years after the wrongful prosecution – Audrey has a good relationship with her children.

Next up on the Katie Couric show, the attorney who worked on her case and the medical professionals’ perspective of the science that led to Audrey’s conviction and subsequent release from jail.

Audrey Edmunds on the Katie Couric show

Audrey Edmund’s story is mesmerizing. Katie Couric’s journalistic style is very easy-going, precise, clear. Much like a direct examination. As Audrey tells the story, she is very composed, but clearly affected by the events that so shaped her life. Audrey is writing a book, detailing what she has survived, being accused and convicted of a heinous crime against a beautiful baby girl, Natalie.

Audrey describes a typical day in the life of Natalie Bearman. And, following the brief description of the story, Katie moves into the moment when Audrey learns that she is a “person of interest” and is ultimately charged with the crime of causing the death of the baby.

Allison C. Williams, Esq. is here and ready for the Show!

For those regular patrons of, you may have read that Allison C. Williams, Esq. is going to appear on the Katie Couric show as a guest blogger. Today is the taping. Ms. Williams will be blogger throughout the morning.

To see what she has to say about Katie’s intriguing segments on false accusations of child abuse, and to share your thoughts on same, check in with throughout the day.


Allison C. Williams, Esq. to appear for taping of the Katie Couric Show tomorrow

On Monday, December 3, 2012, Allison C. Williams, Esq., Founder of, will be taped on the Katie Couric show. Ms. Williams will blog from the studio audience and share her views of the content presented by Katie’s guests. Check in with us throughout the morning for Ms. Williams’ reactions to the spell-binding accounts of false accusations of child abuse shared by Katie’s guests.

As always, we welcome your comments to the content shared by Ms. Williams.