10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation.

10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation

This week, a number of commentators have published articles containing incorrect and irresponsible claims regarding the allegation of Woody Allen’s having sexually abused his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. As the author of two lengthy, heavily researched and thoroughly fact-checked articles that deal with that allegation—the first published in 1992, when Dylan was seven, and the second last fall, when she was 28—I feel obliged to set the record straight. As such, I have compiled the following list of undeniable facts:

1.   Mia never went to the police about the allegation of sexual abuse. Her lawyer told her on August 5, 1992, to take the seven-year-old Dylan to a pediatrician, who was bound by law to report Dylan’s story of sexual violation to law enforcement and did so on August 6.

2.   Allen had been in therapy for alleged inappropriate behavior toward Dylan with a child psychologist before the abuse allegation was presented to the authorities or made publicMia Farrow had instructed her babysitters that Allen was never to be left alone with Dylan.

3.   Allen refused to take a polygraph administered by the Connecticut state police.Instead, he took one from someone hired by his legal team. The Connecticut state police refused to accept the test as evidence. The state attorney, Frank Maco, says that Mia was never asked to take a lie-detector test during the investigation.

4.   Allen subsequently lost four exhaustive court battles—a lawsuit, a disciplinary charge against the prosecutor, and two appeals—and was made to pay more than $1 million in Mia’s legal fees. Judge Elliott Wilk, the presiding judge in Allen’s custody suit against Farrow, concluded that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.”

5.   In his 33-page decision, Judge Wilk found that Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was “grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.”The judge also recounts Farrow’s misgivings regarding Allen’s behavior toward Dylan from the time she was between two and three years old. According to the judge’s decision, Farrow told Allen, “You look at her [Dylan] in a sexual way. You fondled her . . . You don’t give her any breathing room. You look at her when she’s naked.”

6.   Dylan’s claim of abuse was consistent with the testimony of three adults who were present that day. On the day of the alleged assault, a babysitter of a friend told police and gave sworn testimony that Allen and Dylan went missing for 15 or 20 minutes, while she was at the house. Another babysitter told police and also swore in court that on that same day, she saw Allen with his head on Dylan’s lap facing her body, while Dylan sat on a couch “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set.” A French tutor for the family told police and testified that that day she found Dylan was not wearing underpants under her sundress. The first babysitter also testified she did not tell Farrow that Allen and Dylan had gone missing until afterDylan made her statements. These sworn accounts contradict Moses Farrow’s recollection of that day in People magazine.

7.   The Yale-New Haven Hospital Child Sex Abuse Clinic’s finding that Dylan had not been sexually molested, cited repeatedly by Allen’s attorneys, was not accepted as reliable by Judge Wilk, or by the Connecticut state prosecutor who originally commissioned them. The state prosecutor, Frank Maco, engaged the Yale-New Haven team to determine whether Dylan would be able to perceive facts correctly and be able to repeat her story on the witness stand. The panel consisted of two social workers and a pediatrician, Dr. John Leventhal, who signed off on the report but who never saw Dylan or Mia Farrow. No psychologists or psychiatrists were on the panel. The social workers never testified; the hospital team only presented a sworn deposition by Dr. Leventhal, who did not examine Dylan.

All the notes from the report were destroyed. Her confidentiality was then violated, and Allen held a news conference on the steps of Yale University to announce the results of the case. The report concluded Dylan had trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality. (For example, she had told them there were “dead heads” in the attic and called sunset “the magic hour.” In fact, Mia kept wigs from her movies on styrofoam blocks in a trunk in the attic.) The doctor subsequently backed down from his contention.

The Connecticut state police, the state attorney, and Judge Wilk all had serious reservations about the report’s reliability.

8.   Allen changed his story about the attic where the abuse allegedly took place. First, Allen told investigators he had never been in the attic where the alleged abuse took place. After his hair was found on a painting in the attic, he admitted that he might have stuck his head in once or twice. A top investigator concluded that his account was not credible.

9.   The state attorney, Maco, said publicly he did have probable cause to press charges against Allen but declined, due to the fragility of the “child victim.” Maco told me that he refused to put Dylan through an exhausting trial, and without her on the stand, he could not prosecute Allen.

10.   I am not a longtime friend of Mia Farrow’s, and I did not make any deal with her. I have been personally accused of helping my “long-time friend” Mia Farrow place the story that ran in Vanity Fair’s November 2013 issue as part of an effort to help launch Ronan Farrow’s media career. I have also been accused of agreeing to some type of deal with Mia Farrow guaranteeing that the sexual-abuse allegation against Woody Allen would be revisited. For the record, I met Mia Farrow for the first time in 2003, more than 10 years after the first piece was published, at a nonfiction play she appeared in for a benefit in Washington, D.C. I saw her and Dylan again the next day. That is the last time I saw her until I approached her in April 2013 to do a story about her family and how they had fared over the years. I talked to eight of her children, including Dylan and a reluctant Ronan. There was no deal of any kind. Moses Farrow declined to be interviewed for the 2013 piece.

Read: The scathing 33-page decision from the presiding judge in Woody Allen’s 1992 custody suit against Mia Farrow.

Is Woody Allen a child molester? An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow

An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow

By DYLAN FARROW
Dylan FarrowFrances SilverDylan Farrow

(A note from Nicholas Kristof: In 1993, accusations that Woody Allen had abused his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, filled the headlines, part of a sensational story about the celebrity split between Allen and his girlfriend, Mia Farrow. This is a case that has been written about endlessly, but this is the first time that Dylan Farrow herself has written about it in public. It’s important to note that Woody Allen was never prosecuted in this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing; he deserves the presumption of innocence. So why publish an account of an old case on my blog? Partly because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award. Partly because the root issue here isn’t celebrity but sex abuse. And partly because countless people on all sides have written passionately about these events, but we haven’t fully heard from the young woman who was at the heart of them. I’ve written a column about this, but it’s time for the world to hear Dylan’s story in her own words.)

What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.

When I asked my mother if her dad did to her what Woody Allen did to me, I honestly did not know the answer. I also didn’t know the firestorm it would trigger. I didn’t know that my father would use his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me. I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of planting the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defending me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand. At one point, my mother sat me down and told me that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I was lying – that I could take it all back. I couldn’t. It was all true. But sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.

After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.

But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.

What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?

Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.

Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?