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 http://NewJerseyDYFSDefense.com, we can help parents wrongfully accused of child abuse, including child sexual abuse.

DYFS Substantiations of Child Abuse – The Role of Corroboration


In DYFS v. T.L. A-0506-11T2, the Appellate Division entered several rulings about corroboration of children’s statements of prior abuse. The Court noted that N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.46(a)(4) exists to alleviate the necessity of having children unnecessarily relive unpleasant experiences by being required to testify when other reliable evidence will suffice to prove the truth of the matter.  One such piece of “reliable evidence” is the Admission of the parent. 

But interestingly, the Court also held that prior statements of “the child” need not be limited to “the child” at issue in the litigation.  Prior statements of non-subject children can also be admitted.  This ruling seems at variance with the plain language of the statute, which references “the” child – not “a” child.  However, the statute is designed to prevent abuse victims from testifying.  In this case, all children at issue – even those who were not subject to the action – were victimized by the conduct about which statements were given.  Hence, the result achieved by the ruling is consonant with the purpose of the statute.

But what if the non-subject children could only speak to the alleged victimization of “the child” at issue in the case?  In this scenario, I am not so sure that the Court’s ruling in T.L. would stand.  Future published appellate cases may give some guidance on this issue, as there is none at present.