Mia, Ronan and Dylan Farrow Revive 20-Year-Old Child Molestation Allegations Against Woody Allen – Authorities Declared the Accusations ‘Unfounded’ After a 14-Month Investigation, Which Concluded in 1993 (Updated 3/3/2014)
1. Although companions since 1980, Woody and Mia never married and never lived together; and by 1990 or earlier, they had grown distant from each other as each expressed concerns about the other’s relationship with their youngest children – Woody being overly devoted to Dylan Farrow (born on July 11, 1985 and adopted as a newborn) and Mia being overly focused on Satchel Farrow (Mia gave birth to him on December 19, 1987) and alienating him from Woody. Satchel’s psychologist testified during the child custody hearing in March 1993 that from his earliest years Satchel would aggressively resist Woody’s attentions: “Satchel would push him away, would not acknowledge him…. If he would try to help Satchel getting out of bed or going into bed, Satchel would kick him, at times had scratched his face. They were in trouble.”
2. Woody stayed aloof from Mia’s six children with Andre Previn, rarely even speaking to them; however, he was cordial to Moses Farrow, who Mia adopted at age 2 in 1980 (after her divorce from Previn in 1979). In 1990, Woody began acknowledging Mia’s adopted daughter with Andre Previn, Soon-Yi Previn (born on October 8, 1970 and adopted at age 7) after Mia encouraged him to take her to a professional basketball game because he had no one to go with.
3. In January 1992, Mia discovered that Woody was having a sexual relationship with 21-year-old Soon-Yi. Soon-Yi later admitted to Mia that she and Woody first had sex on his birthday on December 1, 1991 – in that same month, Woody’s adoption of two of Mia’s other children, Moses Farrow, 13, and Dylan Farrow, 6, was finalized.
4. Six months later, in July 1992, at her Connecticut country home, Mia had a birthday party for 7-year-old Dylan. After Woody retired to the guest room for the night, Mia affixed to his bathroom door a note which called him a child molester: “Child molester at birthday party, molded and abused one sister, now focused on youngest sister, family disgusted.”
5. Less than a month later, on August 1, 1992, Mia called her psychologist after having learned that Woody’s affair with Soon-Yi was continuing: she described Woody as “satanic and evil,” pleaded with her psychologist to “find a way to stop him,” and told her that a week earlier she and Woody had been discussing the possibility of getting married, which she was still considering.
6. Four days later, on August 5, 1992, Mia phoned her psychologist again: “in contrast to her agitated state in other calls,” she was “extremely calm” and told her psychologist that “Dylan had begun complaining that Woody had abused her.”
7. Also on August 5, 1992, Mia’s longtime best friend, Casey Pascal, called to tell her that, the previous day, her babysitter saw “Woody kneeling on the floor holding Dylan, with his face in her lap” after the two women had left their children in Mia’s Connecticut home with Woody and another babysitter to go shopping together. Casey also said that her babysitter claimed to have lost track of Dylan for about 15 to 20 minutes on August 4, 1992 and that they later discovered Dylan without any underwear.
8. Also on August 5, 1992, Mia was scheduled to sign custody papers: she had worked out an arrangement with Woody allowing him visitation, and he agreed to keep casting her in his movies. In addition, they’d keep going on their annual, two-week trips to Europe as a family, and to the outside world, they’d remain Woody and Mia. However, before those papers arrived, Mia called her lawyer and said something very bad had happened: Woody had taken Dylan up to the attic and molested her by touching her private parts with his finger. Mia testified: “She said he took her into the attic and that he touched her in certain places, that he inserted a finger partially” – suspiciously, a very specific observation and description from a child who just turned 7. Mia also testified that from the time Dylan was 2 1/2 or 3 years old, she feared that Woody had a sexual attachment to Dylan, but Woody’s lawyer cast doubt on her assertion that his behavior was inappropriate by showing that she had consented to his adoption in 1991 of Moses and Dylan.
9. Over the next two or three days, Mia videotaped (edited in-camera) Dylan accusing Woody of molesting her. Mia’s nanny, Monica Thompson, said in deposition that it took Mia two or three days to videotape Dylan making the accusations, and at times Dylan appeared not to be interested in the process. “I know that the tape was made over the course of at least two and perhaps three days,” Monica said. “I was present when Ms. Farrow made a portion of that tape outdoors. I recall Ms. Farrow saying to Dylan at that time, ‘Dylan, what did daddy do . . . and what did he do next?’ Dylan appeared not to be interested, and Ms. Farrow would stop taping for a while and then continue.”
10. On August 5 and 6, 1992, Mia brought Dylan to her doctor for an exam – although there was no physical evidence of abuse, the doctor was obligated by law to report the allegations to authorities. Mia’s nanny, Monica Thompson, said in a sworn affidavit: “The day after the alleged incident, when she got to work, Mia took Dylan to the doctor. When they arrived home, Mia said Dylan had been ‘afraid to talk to the doctor.’ She took Dylan back to the doctor, and when they arrived home, Mia told me that ‘everything is OK now – everything is set’.”
11. On August 6, 1992, Mia made similar accusations of Woody molesting their 4 1/2-year-old son Satchel, but later dropped the charges because “its substance was too insane even for the instigator to stay with.” Woody said: “I hoped that despite many conflicts and much anger, that with calm and compromise I could obtain an agreement in the best interests of the children. Then, suddenly and appallingly I was accused of having molested my beloved 7-year-old daughter and hysterically the next day of molesting my dear 4 1/2-year-old son.”
12. Mia and her cohorts, her longtime best friend Casey Pascal, Casey’s babysitter, Alison Strickland, and Mia’s babysitter, Kristi Groteke, all testified to the same story at the child custody hearing in March 1993, claiming that they lost track of Dylan for about 15 to 20 minutes on August 4, 1992 while Mia and Casey were out shopping, and that they later discovered Dylan without any underwear. Alison, Casey’s babysitter, also claimed that she saw Woody with his head in Dylan’s lap, which made her feel uncomfortable (Woody testified that his head was not in her lap, but that he had knelt down to talk to her). Casey said, “I had to call Mia [to tell her about Alison’s allegations] and it was so horrific – I set the wheels in motion.” Mia’s nanny, Monica Thompson (who was not present on August 4, 1992, the day of the alleged abuse, and who resigned from her position in the Farrow household on January 25, 1993), said in deposition that on August 6, 1992, Kristi Groteke (Dylan’s babysitter beginning sometime in 1991) told her something different from what she later would testify to at the child custody hearing in 1993: On August 6, 1992, when Kristi drove Monica to the bus stop, she was “very upset;” Kristi told Monica “that she felt guilty allowing Ms. Farrow to say those things about Mr. Allen.” Monica also said in deposition that on August 6, 1992, Kristi said: “The day Mr. Allen spent with the kids, she did not have Dylan out of her sight for longer than five minutes and she did not remember Dylan being without her underwear.” Kristi Groteke resigned from her position in the Farrow household sometime after testifying at the child custody hearing in 1993: she immediately wrote a tell-all book about Mia and Woody, which was published in May 1994; in 1995, the book was turned into a mini-series by Fox Television, in which Kristi played herself.
13. Monica Thompson, Mia’s nanny, charged that: “Ms. Farrow set the stage to report the incident involving Dylan. For several weeks, Ms. Farrow insisted that Mr. Allen not be left alone with Dylan and wanted me to be with them at all times.” Monica also said in her deposition: “On several occasions Ms. Farrow asked me if I would be ‘on her side.’ Ms. Farrow has tried to get me to say that I would support her with these accusations.” Monica added that almost immediately after the alleged incident, Moses indicated doubts about what, if anything, had taken place: “Moses came over to me and said that he believes that Ms. Farrow had made up the accusation that was being said by Dylan,” Monica said in the sworn affidavit.
14. After the molestation reports were filed, Mia still wanted to work with Woody on the set of ‘Husbands and Wives.’ Mia also kept on with her plans to star in Woody’s next movie, ‘Manhattan Murder Mystery,’ and placed a call to meet with the wardrobe supervisor on August 9, 1992. The lead female role was written for Mia by Woody but Diane Keaton got the part following the abuse allegations; reportedly, Mia showed up for the first day’s shooting, much to Woody’s consternation.
15. After meeting on August 13, 1992, Woody felt Mia was trying to shake him down for $7 million, so on that day (seven days after he learned about the accusations), he began an action against Mia to obtain custody of their three children, Dylan Farrow, 7, and Moses Farrow, 14 (Woody’s adoption of them was finalized in December 1991) and Satchel Farrow, 5 (Woody’s biological son with Mia).
16. At the state police barracks in Litchfield, Connecticut, Woody was interviewed for 3 1/2 hours. He denied assaulting Dylan (Woody has always vehemently denied the abuse accusations). Accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a child are a very serious matter. Such accusations often lead to criminal investigations and referral to a child welfare or protection agency, and can result in criminal charges against the person being accused. The initial response of the person accused can have a significant, permanent impact on this situation. This is why you should avoid making any statements to law enforcement or other public agencies until you have consulted an attorney. Even making a statement of denial can be tricky in this situation if you have not obtained legal advice. If you try to say that you did not touch a child inappropriately, the other person may misinterpret your statement. You also may make a simple statement that seems innocuous, like admitting you talked to a child at a certain time or were alone with a child, only to have the statement used against you at a later time.
17. Woody denied ever having been in the attic of Mia’s country home, explaining that he wouldn’t even have known how to get to it [he “dislikes the country” and very seldom visited the home]. It was later clarified that the attic referenced by Dylan in her molestation allegations was actually a crawl space off the closet of Mia’s bedroom where the children sometimes played – after learning about this revised detail in the allegations and that “fibers consistent with his hair” had been found in the crawl space, Woody acknowledged that once or twice he had reached into the opening of the crawl space to grab one of the children or to hand them a soda, but he vehemently denied ever entering the crawl space. [Dory Previn, who was Andre Previn’s wife at the time Mia became pregnant with his twin sons, wrote a song about Mia, “Beware of Young Girls” – when asked at the child custody hearing in 1993 about the song, Mia said: “I know that it referred to me.” On the same 1970 album as that song is another song written and performed by Dory, titled, “With My Daddy in the Attic,” which is about an incestuous relationship between a father and his young daughter, suggesting a possible origin of the abuse allegations in the attic.]
18. Woody agreed to a polygraph examination (lie detector test) administered by a private polygraph examiner, which he passed – his lawyer advised him against submitting to a police polygraph examination since they are conducted for purely interrogation purposes. [Mia did not take a lie detector test but it is unclear whether it was because she refused or was not asked.]
19. Two teams of experts (the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital and the New York State Department of Social Services) hired by authorities during a 14-month investigation in both Connecticut (where the original abuse accusations were filed) and New York (where second abuse accusations were filed) concluded that the reports of abuse were unfounded and ruled that no abuse had occurred. Read the Yale-New Haven Hospital report by clicking here.
20. Woody was never arrested, charged or prosecuted for any crime – there was no physical evidence of abuse, authorities concluded that the reports of abuse were unfounded, and a team of experts believed Dylan’s statements had a rehearsed quality and that she was coached by Mia.
21. Faced with a lack of evidence of abuse and the strong probability of coaching by Mia, the district attorney brought no charges against Woody – it was not because Mia “agreed to drop the charges” nor was it because the district attorney wanted “to spare a fragile complainant the trauma of a court appearance.”
22. In September 1993, State’s Attorney for the Litchfield Judicial District in Connecticut, Frank Maco, held a press conference to announce that, while he had “probable cause” to prosecute Woody on charges of sexual molestation of Dylan, he was “dropping the case to spare her the trauma of appearing in court.” Woody filed complaints asking the state bar counsel to disbar Maco and requested that the State Criminal Justice Commission discipline him for making an accusation without producing an indictment – Woody condemned Maco as “cowardly, dishonest and irresponsible.” The grievance panel revealed that on the same day of his press conference, Maco sent a copy of his statement to the judge in Manhattan who would decide whether to void, at Mia’s request, Woody’s adoption of Dylan and Moses. The disciplinary panel found “Maco’s handling of the child-molestation complaint against Woody was cause for ‘grave concern’ and may have prejudiced the legal battle between Woody and Mia.” A professor and expert on legal ethics criticized Maco, saying: “You don’t declare the man guilty and then say you’re not going to prosecute, leaving him to defend himself in the press. It’s a violation of Allen’s constitutional rights, in my view. I can’t overemphasize how remarkable this is.”
23. In 1993, Woody lost the child custody battle: in the ruling, the judge (disgusted by Woody and his relationship with Soon Yi) forbade his seeing Dylan and Moses and allowed court-supervised visits only with Satchel.
24. Just a short time after the custody ruling, Mia refused Woody any contact with Satchel, who Mia renamed Seamus, which he later changed to Ronan.
25. On October 5, 1994, Woody lost an appeal for relief from the custody ruling. Mia refused Woody contact with all three of the children (Moses, Dylan and Satchel Farrow).
26. In April 1997, Frank Maco, State’s Attorney for the Litchfield Judicial District in Connecticut, told Connecticut Magazine that, over the course of the 13 months, 7-year-old Dylan told her mother, psychologists, doctors, social workers and police that Woody touched her – with the tip of his right index finger – several times that day on August 4, 1992. Maco recalled that Dylan said: “He put his finger in my vagina. He made me lay on the floor all ways, on my back, on my side, my front. He kissed me all over. I didn’t like it. Daddy told me not to tell and he’d take me to Paris, but I did tell.” The allegation is very specific and the language used to describe the alleged abuse is very mature, well beyond the life experience and knowledge of a child who just turned 7.
27. Mia went on to adopt six more children (she remains single to this day). Woody and Soon-Yi married in 1997 and adopted two children together.
28. In 1995, Soon-Yi earned her Bachelor’s degree from Drew University; in 1998, she earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from Columbia University – she is not developmentally challenged as Mia’s camp has proclaimed.
29. On January 12, 2014, Woody was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes: during the event, Mia and Ronan published tweets that brought the 21-year-old sexual allegations back into the headlines. A few months earlier, in both October and November 2013, Mia was featured in Vanity Fair articles where she rehashed her 1992 interview with the magazine about the molestation allegations; Dylan first went public with her story in the November 2013 Vanity Fair piece and then published an open letter in the New York Times on February 1, 2014, but with many new details.
30. On February 5, 2014, Moses spoke out in defense of Woody, saying: “Of course Woody did not molest my sister. My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister. And I hated him for her for years. I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi.” Several years ago, Moses re-established a relationship with Woody and became estranged from Mia. Woody’s other two children with Mia, Dylan (who now goes by the name Malone) and Satchel (who now goes by the name Ronan) continue to shun him.
31. One odd thing about that Vanity Fair piece in November 2013 was that the big news in the piece was supposed to be “Dylan Farrow Speaks Out” – what happened, just purely by chance, was that the news became, “Ronan Farrow May Be Frank Sinatra’s Son.” What was Dylan’s trigger for renewing the allegations 21 years later? She wanted attention, says book critic Janet Maslin: “Dylan Farrow, I happen to know this through a friend very close to the story, was very unhappy that this suddenly wasn’t about her. And I think that’s that part of why she decided to start calling attention to herself. Of all the things that have been parsed by total strangers about what went on in that family, no one has ever dared to consider the sibling rivalry issues in there. It’s just too much to think about.”
32. Mia’s friend published an opinion about the renewed allegations at “The Common Ills” blogspot [http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2014/02/mia-and-her-brood-drag-whatevers-left.html] – it is a very interesting read.
The following are excerpts from J. Ross and J. Carro’s opinion in a brief submitted to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York on May 12, 1994 (three judges concurred with their opinions); statements on June 7, 1993 from Judge Elliot Wilk (who presided over the custody hearing); courtroom testimony at the custody hearing in March 1993; the March 1993 report issued by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital; and information from other reports and news sources (marked with hyperlinks).
Woody and Mia met in the fall of 1979, around the time she adopted Moses [born with cerebral palsy, he was adopted from Korea when he was two-years-old].
They first were introduced in 1979 when Michael Caine brought Mia over to Woody’s table at celebrity-crowded Elaine’s. Mutual attraction was quietly nudged into love during a series of lunches and dinners arranged by Woody’s secretary. But Mia already had something of a crush, she said, since she had been struck by Woody’s photo on the cover of the New York Times magazine that same year. “He had such an interesting face,” she said. Woody had a bit more to say about Mia’s translucent skin and delicate cheekbones. “It’s impossible,” he said, “to photograph her when Mia is not being beautiful.”
According to an article in the New York Times in February 1991:
In the fall of 1979 Woody met Mia, who had seven children. He said: “Mia introduced me to a whole other world. Yet the two of us have so little in common that it always amazes us. We’re always marveling on why we threw in our lot together and stayed together as long as we have. I could go on about our differences forever: She doesn’t like the city and I adore it. She loves the country and I don’t like it. She doesn’t like sports at all and I love sports. She loves to eat in, early – 5:30, 6 – and I love to eat out, late. She likes simple, unpretentious restaurants; I like fancy places. She can’t sleep with an air-conditioner on; I can only sleep with an air-conditioner on. She loves pets and animals; I hate pets and animals. She likes to spend tons of time with kids; I like to spend my time with work and only a limited time with kids. She would love to take a boat down the Amazon or go up to Mount Kilimanjaro; I never want to go near those places. She has an optimistic, yea-saying feeling toward life itself, and I have a totally pessimistic, negative feeling. She likes the West Side of New York; I like the East Side of New York. She has raised nine children now with no trauma and has never owned a thermometer. I take my temperature every two hours in the course of the day.”
When they met, he was 43 years old and a critical and commercial success. His 1977 film, ‘Annie Hall,’ had won him Oscar nominations for best director, best actor and best original screenplay, a triple play managed only once before, by Orson Welles for ‘Citizen Kane.’ Woody won all but best actor.
She, 34 and divorced for nearly a year, was working on Broadway in ‘Romantic Comedy.’ (During her marriages, first to Frank Sinatra and then to Andre Previn, the composer and conductor, she was encouraged not to work.) One evening, Michael Caine and his wife came to a performance and afterward the three went to Elaine’s for dinner. Woody was there at his usual table; Caine stopped to say hello and introduced Mia.
She had actually met Woody in passing a party in California several years earlier and they once corresponded, she to tell him that she enjoyed ‘Manhattan’ and he politely to thank her. She had never seen him as a stand-up comedian, which he was in the early 1960’s, but she knew of him as a director, having also seen ‘Annie Hall.’
Then in April 1979, she noticed a picture of Woody on the cover of this magazine. He had on a scruffy sweater and was holding an open umbrella over one shoulder. She found the picture appealing and read the profile inside, concluding that he was “neat.” She tore off the cover and stuck it in her Random House Dictionary. (About seven years later – by then she and Allen had been together for about six years – she came upon the picture and had it framed. “I’m not in the habit of saving pictures like that, but I was a little lonely at the time and he had such an interesting face. It was a long winter,” she adds, shrugging.)
Some weeks after their encounter at Elaine’s, Woody sent her an invitation to his New Year’s Eve party (“I think practically everybody in New York got one,” she says). She went with Tony Perkins, who was in the show with her, and his wife. Woody pays attention to the smallest details of the few big parties he gives – he stewed over the paper stock of the Cartier invitations for this one. But he is an almost invisible host. He likes to fill a grand place like the Harkness House, a mansion turned for a time into a ballet school, with hundreds of guests but he doesn’t like to work the room. He greets everyone as they arrive. “If it’s me meeting people at the door, I have no entry phobia. The burden is on them.” Then once the throng is assembled, he more or less fades into the woodwork.
Mia had a good time at the party but only a few words with Woody. Afterward, she sent him a note of thanks and a copy of Lewis Thomas’s book of essays ‘The Medusa and the Snail.’ Woody had his secretary, Norma Lee Clark, call her (‘Gracious person that I am,’ he says) to thank her and suggest that they have lunch sometime.
In the spring of 1980, he invited Mia, again through his secretary, to lunch at Lutece. (Mia later made a needlepoint sampler of the date and event – April 17, 1980 – that hangs on the wall outside his bedroom.) More dinner invitations followed, always through Woody’s secretary. During the first several months of this routine, Woody never phoned Mia. He prefers not to speak on the phone to anyone unless he has to, and being invited through an intermediary didn’t bother her. “She never mentioned it,” Woody says. It was a slow courtship. “We would have dinner,” Mia says, “and we’re still having dinner.” [Click here to read the rest of the story.]
In 1984, Mia expressed a desire to have a child with Woody. After six months of unsuccessful attempts to become pregnant, Mia decided to adopt.
Mia legally adopted newborn Dylan O’Sullivan Farrow in 1985 [court documents and other records have conflicting dates on the exact day]. Woody began to spend some mornings and evenings at Mia’s apartment in order to be with Dylan [throughout their relationship, the couple maintained separate apartments in Manhattan], plus he visited Mia’s country home in Connecticut. He remained aloof from Mia’s other children except for Moses, to whom he was cordial.
In 1986 Mia expressed a desire to adopt another child; Woody was much more amenable to the idea the second time.
Before the 1986 adoption could be completed, Mia became pregnant with Satchel; Woody showed little interest in her pregnancy although he testified he was happy at the idea of becoming a father.
Because Woody showed little or no interest in the pregnancy, Mia began to withdraw from him during the pregnancy and, afterwards (Satchel was born on December 19, 1987), she did not wish Satchel to become attached to Woody.
Satchel’s psychologist, Dr. Susan Coates, testified that she first met with Woody and Mia in 1990, as part of her preliminary evaluation of Satchel, whom she said was alienated from Woody at the time. She said the parents’ own relationship was “in considerable trouble,” with the two of them unable to agree on issues as small as whether or not Mia should keep a child’s thermometer in the house.
Coates also testified during the child custody hearing in March 1993 that from his earliest years Satchel would aggressively resist Woody’s attentions. “Satchel would push him away, would not acknowledge him…. If he would try to help Satchel getting out of bed or going into bed, Satchel would kick him, at times had scratched his face. They were in trouble.” Likewise, two independent social workers employed to oversee visitation with Satchel after the custody ruling, testified that Satchel had told his father, “I like you, but I am not supposed to love you;” plus Satchel “indicated to his father that he was seeing a doctor that was going to help him not to see him anymore, and he indicated that he was supposed to be seeing this doctor perhaps eight or ten times, at the end of which he would no longer have to see his father.”
It was after the birth his son, Satchel, that Woody began to accompany Mia, the Previn children, Moses, Dylan and Satchel on family vacations in Europe (these trips were in 1987, 1988 and 1989) – Woody’s didn’t officially adopt Dylan until 1991, at which time he also adopted Moses.Woody claimed Mia became inordinately attached to the newborn Satchel to the exclusion of the other children. He said that after Satchel’s birth he began spending more time with Dylan, ostensibly to make up for the lack of attention shown her by Mia.
According to an August 1992 People magazine article:
The couple always maintained separate residences. Her apartment was half a mile across Central Park from his East Side duplex. “I like the arrangement,” Farrow said in 1990. “We have a good life.” They shared the moviemaking, of course, plus shepherding the kids around New York, occasional weekends at her country home (although Allen hates the country and often chose to stay in town) and suppers at his favorite hangout, Elaine’s. (Mia was always willing to say hello to people who would stop by their table there; Woody would stare at his feet.)
Since the birth of his son, he would get up at 5 A.M. to be at Farrow’s place when Satchel, Dylan and Moses awoke; by 10, he would be at work directing his latest movie and producing the next. At night he would return to her place to see the kids to bed, then head out with her for a bite to eat. (And, of course, he managed to maintain his strict regimen of psychotherapy, which goes back 25 years.) “She does all the work,” he joked, “and I skim off the cream, since I only see the kids at their best.”
Woody always seemed especially close to Dylan, says a friend who has regularly watched them during Allen’s Monday-night jazz gigs at Michael’s Pub in Manhattan, where he has played clarinet for 21 years. “Woody really adores her,” he says. “She would sit on his lap while he was playing, many times,” says the friend. “When they adopted Dylan, I noticed that he started to wear a tie, and I said, ‘What’s going on? You never wear a tie.’ And he said, “Well, Dylan likes to play with it, so I wear a tie.” [Click here to read the rest of the story.]
The record demonstrates that Mia expressed concern to Woody about his relationship with Dylan and that Woody expressed his concern to Mia about her relationship with Satchel. In 1990 both Dylan and Satchel were evaluated by clinical psychologists. Dr. Coates began treatment of Satchel in 1990; in April of 1991 Dylan was referred to Dr. Schultz, a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of young children with serious emotional problems.
In 1990 at about the same time that Woody and Mia were growing distant from each other and expressing their concerns about the other’s relationship with their youngest children, “Woody began acknowledging” Mia’s 21-year-old daughter Soon-Yi Previn [one of Mia’s adopted daughters with her former husband Andre Previn] – “previously he treated her in the same way he treated Mia’s other children from her prior marriage, rarely even speaking to them.” Woody told Newsweek magazine in August 1992 that his relationship with Mia was over when he took Soon-Yi [who was born in Korea on October 8, 1970] to a New York Knicks professional basketball game in 1990 because he had no one to go with. The following are excerpts from that interview.
“Mia and I were going through the motions of a long-defunct relationship and, you know, I would get up, go there in the morning, play with my kids and then go to work. And then come back at night, play with the kids, put ‘em to bed. Mia and I had a civil relationship. We went out to dinner once a week, maybe, but we never did anything together. I was not remotely close to Soon-Yi. She is the adopted daughter of Andre Previn and Mia. I must have spoken to the other kids in that house a hundred times more than Soon-Yi. Soon-Yi was a quiet person, and I never had any interest in her at all. None.
“And then once, when she was 20 years old or almost 21, one night I had no one to go to the basketball game with me, and she wanted to see a basketball game live. Well, I took her to the game and, we chatted and had a nice time. And she said some things to me about the family that shocked me, and she said, you know, you’re not over here enough, so you don’t really know, but it’s not what you think it is.
“And we talked, and we got friendly, and a month or so later I said I’m going to the game again, do you want to go? And we went and we had a nice time and, and gradually over a period of time a strictly talking relationship developed. And then only, only long after the relationship was finished with Mia did it very gradually drift into an intimate relationship.
“Soon-Yi is not part of my family. Soon-Yi has a very high-profile father; I was not a father figure to those children. I was a father figure to my own children, period. Those are the three in my will.”
In December 1991 two events coincided: Woody’s adoptions of Dylan and Moses were finalized and Woody began his sexual relationship with their sister Soon-Yi [she was born in Korea and adopted in 1977 – it is frequently reported that her actual birth year is unknown and is believed to be 1970 or 1972, but her birth date is October 8, 1970, which means she was 21 when she and Woody began their sexual relationship.
According to an August 1992 People magazine article:
As for Woody’s passion for Soon-Yi, it began on his 56th birthday, December 1, 1991. That, in any event, is the date that Mia’s attorney, Alan Dershowitz, cites as the first time that Woody and Soon-Yi had sex. “How do we know that?” Dershowitz asks. “Soon-Yi eventually had a long talk with her mother about it.”
The bitterness of the Allen-Farrow denouement burst into public view on August 13, 1992, when Allen, 56, filed suit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan for custody of his and Mia’s son, Satchel, 4, and two children they adopted together, Moses, a 14-year-old Korean with cerebral palsy, and daughter Dylan, 7. “It has been tragic to watch what Mia has gone through,” said Mia’s mother, Maureen O’Sullivan when the suit was filed. “The truth of this story will soon be made public.”
Part of the larger story she referred to so darkly, it turns out, is that Woody has fallen head over heels for another of Mia’s seven adopted children, 21-year-old Soon-Yi, a sophomore at Drew University in Madison, N.J. With photos of his long, weary face illustrating lurid headlines on the front pages of New York City’s tabloids, the normally reclusive Woody felt obliged to do the unthinkable: talk about his private life to the press. He confessed to the new relationship – which Mia reportedly discovered seven months earlier when she came across nude photos of Soon-Yi taken in Allen’s East Side duplex – with a statement that was an unabashed valentine: “Regarding my love for Soon-Yi: It’s real and happily all true. She’s a lovely, intelligent, sensitive woman who has and continues to turn my life around in a positive way.”
For Mia, discovery of the affair was devastating, says her friend Maria Roach, 56, daughter of director Hal Roach and godmother to Mia’s daughter Lark, 18. When she coincidentally called Mia shortly after the pictures of Soon-Yi had surfaced, “I thought someone had died,” says Roach. Then Mia wrote her a letter full of heartbreak. “My vision has been unclear,” the letter reads, “and I have spent more than a dozen years with a man who would destroy me and corrupt my daughter, leading her into a betrayal of her mother and her principles, leaving her morally bankrupt with the bond between us demolished. I can think of no cruder way to lose a child or a lover.”
The betrayal, in Mia’s eyes, was all the more painful because of the lengths she had gone to to adopt Soon-Yi in 1977. Federal law then prevented U.S. families from adopting more than two foreign children. Mia already had Lark and Daisy, but she was finally able to bring Soon-Yi after launching an effort lobbying Congress to repeal the law.
Observes a source close to Woody: “I’m sure Woody had reservations [about starting a sexual relationship with Soon-Yi], but you don’t choose the people you fall in love with.” Besides, says the source, before his kids Dylan, Moses and Satchel were added to the family, he avoided being involved with Mia’s brood. He wasn’t around surrogate-parenting Soon-Yi and the others, says the source. Previn remained their father figure.
Mia sequestered herself at Frog follow, her Connecticut hideaway, reportedly too distraught to eat. She still loves Soon-Yi, says Maureen O’Sullivan: “A mother always loves her child.” Mia was to have starred in Woody’s next film, Manhattan Murder Mystery, but has since been fired. He has made it quite clear that he no longer considers Farrow his leading lady. “In the end,” he told reporters, “the one thing I have been guilty of is falling in love with Mia Farrow’s adult daughter at the end of our years together.” The new star of the film, by the way, will be Diane Keaton (the lead female role was written for Mia by Woody but Keaton got the part following the abuse allegations; reportedly, Mia showed up for the first day’s shooting, much to Woody’s consternation). [Click here to read the rest of the story.]
It was on January 13, 1992, while in Woody’s apartment, that Mia discovered six nude photographs of Soon-Yi (posed reclining on a couch with her legs spread apart), which had been left on a mantelpiece. When Mia returned home, she showed the photos to Soon-Yi and asked, “What have you done?” and then left the room before Soon-Yi answered. During the following weekend, Mia hugged Soon-Yi and told her she loved her and did not blame her. Shortly thereafter, Mia asked Soon-Yi how long she had been seeing Woody. When Soon-Yi referred to her sexual relationship with Woody, Mia hit her on the side of the face and on the shoulders. Mia also told her older children what she had learned. After receiving Mia’s telephone call, Woody went to her apartment where, he said, he found her to be “ragingly angry.” Within that month, both parties retained counsel and attempted to negotiate a settlement of their differences.
In January 1992, Mia gave Woody a family picture Valentine with skewers through the hearts of the children and a knife through her heart [this is a quote from Judge Wilk on page 9 of his decision in the 1993 child custody case].
In July 1992, Mia had a birthday party for Dylan at her Connecticut home. After Woody retired to the guest room for the night, Mia affixed to his bathroom door a note which called him a child molester – a reference to his affair with Soon-Yi [this is a quote from Judge Wilk on page 9 of his decision in the 1993 child custody case]. However, the note clearly refers to both Soon-Yi and Dylan: “Child molester at birthday party, molded and abused one sister, now focused on youngest sister, family disgusted.”
On August 4, 1992, Woody traveled to Mia’s Connecticut house to spend time with the children. Allegedly, during a 15-minute period when Woody and Dylan “vanished from sight,” Woody took Dylan into a crawl-like space off of Mia’s bedroom (described by the Farrow family as an attic) and molested her while she played with a toy train – Mia had left to go shopping with a friend, Casey Pascal, leaving her children, along with Casey’s three children, with Woody, two babysitters (Kristi Groteke, Mia’s babysitter, and Alison Strickland, Casey’s babysitter), and a French tutor (Sophie Berge).
In April 1997, Frank Maco, State’s Attorney for the Litchfield Judicial District in Connecticut, told Connecticut Magazine that, over the course of the 13 months, 7-year-old Dylan told her mother, psychologists, doctors, social workers and police that Woody touched her – with the tip of his right index finger – several times that day on August 4, 1992. Maco recalled that Dylan said: “He put his finger in my vagina. He made me lay on the floor all ways, on my back, on my side, my front. He kissed me all over. I didn’t like it. Daddy told me not to tell and he’d take me to Paris, but I did tell.”
According to Mia, Dylan told her about the alleged abuse the next day, August 5, 1992, when she confronted Dylan after Mia’s friend Casey called to report something her babysitter said had happened at the country home while they were shopping the previous day [at the child custody hearing in 1993, Alison Strickland, Casey’s babysitter, testified that she saw Woody kneeling before Dylan “in a way that bothered” her; Woody testified that he knelt, speaking to Dylan, but did not put his head in her lap]. Mia videotaped Dylan’s statements over the next two or three days – Dylan said she had been with her father in the attic and that he had touched her private parts with his finger.
When asked by Newsweek magazine in August 1992 if he was alone with Dylan on August 4, 1992, Woody replied: “Was I alone with her? No. I play with the kids all the time and I’m in and out of the house and there are always people around. I’m not saying those people have their eyes trained on me every second. . . . But I was never alone at any time.” He went on to say: “I’ve been a model, model father with these kids. I mean I’m affectionate like my parents were with me, but that’s it.”
It was a phone call from Mia’s “longtime best friend,” Casey Pascal, on August 5, 1992, which started the allegations that Woody had molested Dylan in the attic of Mia’s Connecticut country home on August 4, 1992. Casey’s babysitter, Alison Strickland, reported to Casey that she saw Woody with “his head in Dylan’s lap” on that day – Casey also claims that, later that day, “we noticed Dylan didn’t have any underwear on.” However, Mia’s nanny, Monica Thompson, stated in an deposition in February 1993 that Kristi Groteke, Dylan’s babysitter, told her on August 6, 1992 that “the day Woody spent with the kids, she did not have Dylan out of her sight for longer than five minutes, and she did not remember Dylan being without her underwear.” Kristi also told Mia’s nanny that she “felt guilty allowing Ms. Farrow to say those things about Mr. Allen;” however, Kristi told a different story under oath during the child custody hearing in March 1993 (which would mean she committed perjury).
Kristi Groteke, who worked for Mia from 1991 to 1993 (the year Woody began his sexual relationship with Soon-Yi until after the custody trial in 1993), testified during the custody trial in March 1993 that on August 4, 1992, she lost track of Dylan and Woody for 15 to 20 minutes; she said she did not inform Mia of this until after Dylan had made the allegation of abuse. After the trial, in May 1994, Groteke authored a nanny’s-eye-view tell-all, “Mia & Woody: Love & Betrayal,” with a writer for People. In 1995, Fox Television produced a miniseries, “Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story,” based on Groteke’s book: in the movie, Groteke played herself.
Kristi Groteke’s married name is Kristi Groteke Guadagnoli. She now lives in the Chantilly, Virginia area where she is a practicing psychologist. She earned her B.S. from Manhattan College, her M.S. in counseling from Seton Hall University, and her PsyD. from Antioch New England Graduate School.
According to Casey in her Daily Mail interview on February 12, 2014: “It was not until later that Alison came to me and said there was something I should know; she said it was the kind of situation where if she had walked in on grown-ups she would have said ‘sorry’ – then she realised there was a very small child involved and she was horrified. I had to call Mia and it was so horrific – I set the wheels in motion.”
The following is more of the story as retold by Casey Pascal to The Daily Mail on February 12, 2014 (note that some of the following statements are hearsay).
Woody’s relationship with Dylan had become so intense he had sought treatment for his “inappropriate behaviour” with the little girl. “It was an on-going concern,” Casey says: “People were concerned about Woody’s behavior with Dylan. His intensity with the child… he didn’t seem to leave her alone for a second. He was obsessed with the child. Mia had mentioned it to him, and he was seeing someone. I saw it from the perspective that the children would be involved in a game and he would come and scoop her up and take her away; it was not anything you would consider normal. Mia always told baby sitters never to leave them alone, the child seemed to have no space for herself, he overpowered her. She would be going off into her mind in a different space, she would tune out. We knew it was too intense for a little girl. I would just take my children home when Woody arrived as there was no more playing with Dylan when he arrived. It was such a one-sided relationship. He was gushing attentively over a little child who just wanted to be someplace else.”
“I would never have left my children with him,” says Casey. [However, she did just that, on August 4, 1992, the day of the alleged molestation – she and Mia went shopping and left the children with Woody, two babysitters (Kristi Groteke, Mia’s babysitter, and Alison Strickland, Casey’s babysitter), and a French tutor (Sophie Berge).]
Mere months had passed since Mia had discovered a set of exceedingly graphic nude Polaroid photos of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, barely hidden on Woody’s mantelpiece, but for the sake of the children, Mia allowed Woody to stay in contact with his son Satchel – whose paternity has since been brought into doubt – and his adopted daughter Dylan. However, there remained an “atmosphere of hurt” in the house. And she suggested the shopping trip purely, she says, because Allen was on his way over to the Bridgewater home Mia had bought, named Frog Hollow.
It was while they were out that Casey’s babysitter, Alison Strickland, walked in on a scene in the TV room that left her reeling. Little Dylan was sitting on the sofa, while kneeling before her, with his head in her lap, was Woody Allen [other reports state that Alison said Woody had “his face in her lap“]. Alison would later give testimony in a 1993 court battle, saying Dylan had been”sitting on the couch staring vacantly in the direction of a television set.”
Casey recalls: “We took Mia’s baby son Isaiah out with us and went to the store and while we were gone Alison went looking for John and opened a door to a little den off the kitchen and found Woody with his head in Dylan’s lap. We came back, not knowing anything about this, we noticed Dylan didn’t have any underwear on and Mia asked one of the girls to help her get some pants on.” It was not until later that day, Casey says, that: “Alison came to me and said there was something I should know, she said it was the kind of situation where if she had walked in on grown-ups she would have said ‘sorry’ – then she realised there was a very small child involved and she was horrified. I had to call Mia and it was so horrific – I set the wheels in motion.”
Mia refused to permit Woody to visit with Dyan after August 4, 1992.
On August 13, 1992, Woody revealed in a news conference that Mia also accused him of sexually abusing their 4-year-old son Satchel – he said that accusation has since been dropped because “its substance was too insane even for the instigator to stay with.” Woody told reporters: “I hoped that despite many conflicts and much anger, that with calm and compromise I could obtain an agreement in the best interests of the children. Then, suddenly and appallingly I was accused of having molested my beloved 7-year-old daughter and hysterically the next day of molesting my dear 4 1/2-year-old son.” The following are excerpts from an article about the news conference by the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 19, 1992.
It was revealed, by the usually reclusive director, at a news conference he called himself, that Farrow also accused him of sexually abusing their 4-year- old son – though he said that accusation has since been dropped.
And he made a charge of his own, later denied by Farrow’s camp, that Farrow had offered to drop all claims of abuse in exchange for $7 million.
Connecticut State Police said a doctor examined the couple’s 7-year-old adopted daughter for abuse two weeks ago at Farrow’s behest. As required by state law, the doctor notified police. That triggered the investigation. Farrow owns a country home near Litchfield, Conn.
The tip of the dispute went public Thursday when Allen filed for custody of their three children, who live with Farrow. A lawyer familiar with the filing said Allen charged that Farrow was an unfit mother. A hearing was set for Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
“I hoped that despite many conflicts and much anger, that with calm and compromise I could obtain an agreement in the best interests of the children,” Allen, appearing tired and frail, said yesterday. “Then, suddenly and appallingly I was accused of having molested my beloved 7-year-old daughter and hysterically the next day of molesting my dear 4 1/2-year-old son.”
Allen said he had been told the allegation concerning his son would not be pursued, “I suppose because its substance was too insane even for the instigator to stay with.”
He said Farrow’s allegations of abuse led to his custody suit: “These totally false and outrageous allegations have sickened me so I felt that, for the sake of all my three children, I must try and remove them from an atmosphere so unhealthy it can surely leave irreparable scars,” said Allen.
“This, my lawyers tell me, is a currently popular though heinous card played in all too many child custody fights,” he said, decrying the ”manipulation of innocent children for vindictive and self-serving motives.”
Farrow’s attorneys, Alan Dershowitz and David Levett, were quick to deny Allen’s accusation that they had offered to drop abuse allegations for $7 million. “Mr. Allen’s custody suit is ‘the card’ his lawyers are playing in an effort to deflect attention away from the ongoing investigations of his conduct,” Farrow’s lawyers said last night. “There was an attempt to resolve this entire matter in a privileged and confidential forum, without a court proceeding which would inevitably hurt the children. This attempt was undercut by Mr. Allen’s decision to file his lawsuit and hold his press conference in breach of confidentiality.”
Irwin Tenenbaum, a lawyer for Allen, testified that on August 13, 1992, he was at the meeting in New York with Farrow’s lawyers who, he says, said “the charges could be made to go away” and “Dylan could not be available or not cooperate” in exchange for $7–8 million toward the children’s education and medical expenses and as additional compensation for Farrow’s film work. Tenenbaum testifies that at the meeting Farrow’s lawyer Dershowitz—who will later have a three-hour shouting match with Allen’s attorney, Elkan Abramowitz, in court and deny making a monetary offer—said, “We could do a down and dirty settlement for $5 million.”
On August 13, 1992, Woody began an action against Mia to obtain custody of Moses, Dylan and Satchel.
Regarding his decision to sue for child custody after being accused of molesting Dylan, Woody told Newsweek magazine in August 1992: “Mia could have prevented it all. When she accused me of child molestation, I felt that was the time to say I don’t want my children in that atmosphere, it’s too sick. And that’s when I did what I had to do. I never thought about anything but the children. I didn’t think about my reputation; I don’t care if I never work again. . . . When that happened, that was so grotesque, and so fraudulent and so sick that I felt I’ve got to get those children out.”
In February 1993, lawyers for Woody said that a former nanny who worked for Mia testified she was pressured by Mia to support charges that Woody molested 7-year-old Dylan. The nanny, Monica Thompson, resigned from the Farrow household on January 25, 1993, after being subpoenaed in the bitter custody battle between Mia and Woody. She told Woody’s lawyers in depositions that another babysitter [Kristi Groteke] and one of the couple’s other adopted children, Moses, told her they had serious doubts about the molestation accusation. She also said that “Mia set the stage to report the incident involving Dylan,” and, on several occasions, Mia “asked me if I would be ‘on her side’ and has tried to get me to say that I would support her with these accusations.” She added that on one occasion, almost immediately after the alleged incident, Moses, 14, indicated doubts about what, if anything, had taken place (she said, “Moses came over to me and said that he believes that Ms. Farrow had made up the accusation that was being said by Dylan”).
Thompson also said in deposition that it took Mia two or three days to videotape Dylan making the accusations, and at times the youngster appeared not to be interested in the process. “I know that the tape was made over the course of at least two and perhaps three days,” Thompson said. “I was present when Ms. Farrow made a portion of that tape outdoors. I recall Ms. Farrow saying to Dylan at that time, ‘Dylan, what did daddy do . . . and what did he do next?’ Dylan appeared not to be interested, and Ms. Farrow would stop taping for a while and then continue.”
Thompson, who had worked for Mia for seven years, said she was not present in Connecticut the day in August 1992 that the incident allegedly occurred. Thompson said the day after the alleged incident, when she got to work, Mia took Dylan to the doctor. “When they arrived home, Mia said Dylan had been ‘afraid to talk to the doctor.’ She took Dylan back to the doctor, and when they arrived home, Mia told me that ‘everything is OK now – everything is set’.”
Thompson said that the next day Kristi Groteke, Dylan’s babysitter, drove her to the bus and told her that “she felt guilty allowing Ms. Farrow to say those things about Mr. Allen.” Thompson said that Groteke told her that on “the day Woody spent with the kids, she did not have Dylan out of her sight for longer than five minutes, and she did not remember Dylan being without her underwear” [which allegedly happened on the same day (August 4, 1992) as the molestation in the attic at Mia’s country home in Connecticut while she and her friend, Casey Pascal, where out shopping]. However, Groteke testified during the custody trial in March 1993 that on August 4, 1992, she lost track of Dylan and Woody for 15 to 20 minutes; she said she did not inform Mia of this until after Dylan had made the allegation of abuse [after the 1993 custody hearing, Groteke resigned from her position in the Farrow household and immediately went on to write a tell-all book about Mia and Woody, which was published in May 1994; in 1995, the book was turned into a mini-series by Fox Television, in which Kristi played herself].
Thompson charged that “Ms. Farrow set the stage to report the incident involving Dylan – for several weeks, Ms. Farrow insisted that Mr. Allen not be left alone with Dylan and wanted me to be with them at all times.” The nanny said that on several occasions Mia “asked me if I would be ‘on her side’ and has tried to get me to say that I would support her with these accusations.”
Thompson added that on one occasion almost immediately after the alleged incident, Moses, 14, indicated doubts about what, if anything, had taken place. “Moses came over to me and said that he believes that Ms. Farrow had made up the accusation that was being said by Dylan,” Thompson said in an affidavit.
On March 18, 1993, the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital issued a report which concluded that Woody had not sexually abused Dylan. The Yale-New Haven findings, which were the results of repeated interviews with Woody, Mia, Dylan, the child’s psychologist and household servants, were not made public. Woody’s lawyers reported that the edited videotape on which Mia had based the accusation was a result of either the child’s imagination or of someone else’s manipulation.
On April 20, 1993, a sworn statement was entered into evidence by Dr. John M. Leventhal, head of the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, which was retained by the Connecticut State Police to investigate the abuse charges.
As to why the team felt the charges didn’t hold water, Leventhal states: “We had two hypotheses: one, that these were statements made by an emotionally disturbed child and then became fixed in her mind. And the other hypothesis was that she was coached or influenced by her mother. We did not come to a firm conclusion. We think that it was probably a combination.”
Leventhal further swears Dylan’s statements at the hospital contradicted each other as well as the story she told on the videotape. “Those were not minor inconsistencies. She told us initially that she hadn’t been touched in the vaginal area, and she then told us that she had, then she told us that she hadn’t.” He also said the child’s accounts had “a rehearsed quality.” At one point, she told him, “I like to cheat on my stories.”
The sworn statement further concludes: “Even before the claim of abuse was made last August, the view of Mr. Allen as an evil and awful and terrible man permeated the household. The view that he had molested Soon-Yi and was a potential molester of Dylan permeated the household… It’s quite possible — as a matter of fact, we think it’s medically probable — that (Dylan) stuck to that story over time because of the intense relationship she had with her mother.”
Leventhal further notes it was “very striking” that each time Dylan spoke of the abuse, she coupled it with “one, her father’s relationship with Soon-Yi, and two, the fact that it was her poor mother, her poor mother,” who had lost a career in Mr. Allen’s films.
The child custody trial began on March 19, 1993. Testimony given at the trial “by the individuals caring for the children that day [Casey Pascal’s babysitter, Alison Strickland, and Mia’s babysitter, Kristie Groteke], the videotape of Dylan [taped by Mia over a two- or three-day period], and the accounts of Dylan’s behavior toward Woody both before and after the alleged instance of abuse [Casey and Mia’s testimony], suggested that the abuse did occur.” However, in February 1993, a former nanny who worked for Mia told Woody’s lawyers in depositions that she was pressured by Mia to support charges that Woody molested 7-year-old Dylan.
At the custody trial, Woody testified that after Mia learned of his affair with Soon-Yi, she cut his head out of family pictures and that “she called me dozens of times a night, raging and screaming, threatening to kill me.” He testified further that he once found a note she left by an open window saying, “I’ve jumped out the window because of what you’ve done to the children.”
Mia then testified that Dylan told her the preceding summer that her father had sexually molested her. Mia conceded, however, that the child, in her shyness, would not tell doctors of the abuse and that a medical examination produced no signs of it. She explained that she had videotaped the girl’s statement because: “I wanted this documented because it had happened before… He would creep up in the morning and lay beside her bed and wait for her to wake up. I thought it was excessive. I was uncomfortable all along.” Mia added that when Woody came to visit, Dylan screamed, “Hide me! Hide me!” to her brothers and sisters. [Click here to read more of Mia’s testimony.]
During the custody hearing, Woody’s lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, accused the Connecticut State Police of aiding Mia’s case by allowing her lawyers to see the Dylan videotape but refusing his request to see it.
In a three-hour shouting match between Mia’s attorney, Alan M. Dershowitz, and Woody’s attorney, Abramowitz, Dershowitz denied allegations by Abramowitz that he had asked Woody to pay millions of dollars to get Mia to call off the molestation charge. Also, Woody claimed that Dershowilz had demanded a $7 million settlement not to pursue the allegations, but Dershowitz denied that any settlement had been brought up – leaving the podium, Woody delivered a mournful ad lib, saying: “My one public appearance in years,” he said, “and all straight lines”.
The following are excerpts from a report by the New York Post.
Mia learned of the affair January 13, 1992. She had brought Satchel to Woody’s apartment for his regular therapy session — the whole family saw shrinks — and discovered six nude Polaroids of Soon-Yi on his mantle, her legs spread open.
She phoned Woody, told him to stay away, and rushed back home with Satchel. Soon-Yi was there, and Mia attacked her, at one point reportedly breaking a chair over her daughter. Woody rushed over and declared his great love for Soon-Yi and his intent to marry her.
According to a 1992 Vanity Fair story: Mia said, “Fine . . . Take her and go.” Then, suddenly, Woody changed his mind, fell to his knees and proposed marriage to Mia. The thing with Soon-Yi, he said was “a tepid little affair” that was “probably good for Soon-Yi’s self-esteem.” Mia slapped his face, then Woody sat down with the rest of the family for dinner.
At the time, Woody was shooting “Husbands and Wives” — a film about adultery — and Mia had a starring role. The running joke on the set was that Mia needed a steady supply of “fresh babies.” Even after discovering the affair, she continued shooting. She veered from wanting to work things out with Woody to threatening his life and her own. She’d call him in the middle of night and threaten to gouge out his eyes, demand to know if Soon-Yi was better in bed.
Meanwhile, she adopted two more children… Soon-Yi was exiled, sent in June to work at a camp in Maine, and while in one of their reconciliation phases, Mia was shocked to get a letter from the camp: Soon-Yi had been asked to leave, because Woody was bombarding her with calls. She had no idea where her daughter was, and didn’t find out till the tabloids ran a picture of Soon-Yi outside Woody’s apartment.
On August 4, 1992, Mia claimed that while she was out shopping, Woody had disappeared with Dylan for 15 to 20 minutes at their country home in Connecticut. That day, Mia was scheduled to sign custody papers.
According to a September 1992 report in New York magazine, she had worked out an arrangement with Woody allowing him visitation. He agreed to keep casting her. They’d keep going on their annual, two-week trips to Europe as a family, and to the outside world, they’d remain Woody and Mia. But before those papers arrived, Mia called her lawyer and said something very bad had happened. Allen had taken Dylan up to the attic and molested her. She videotaped Dylan — a tape that was later reported to have been edited in-camera — then took her to the doctor for an exam.
Mia also kept on with her plans to star in Allen’s next movie, “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” and placed a call to meet with the wardrobe supervisor on August 9, 1992. “She accused me of child molestation on August 4th, right?” Woody told “60 Minutes” that November. “And August 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th — you know, the week after, she’s fully saying, ‘When do we begin our new movie? I’m going for my costume fitting next week’ . . . And I said, ‘Are you kidding? You’re accusing me of child molestation, and you think we’re just going to go on with the movie? . . . This is insane’. ”
By then, this neo-Greek tragedy had been playing out for eight months, and no one aside from the immediate family and their closest friends knew. But after a disastrous meeting on August 13, 1992, when Woody felt Mia was trying to shake him down for $7 million (a sum her lawyer disputed), he filed for custody of their three children, then leaked the filing to several outlets.
“On many, many occasions,” Woody told “60 Minutes,” “Mia had said to me, ‘You took my daughter, and I’m going to take yours.’ ”
Both sides began leaking to the press accusations ranging from unflattering to criminal.
Ronan and Mia (he looks like her, not Woody or Frank)—”It is striking how much Mia and Ronan are alike—the same porcelain skin, the same intense blue eyes, the same ability to perform,” wrote Maureen Orth.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Coates, who had treated Satchel and met often with both parents, testified that she had been convinced by Mia’s behavior – including sending Woody a Valentine with skewers through the hearts of her children – that she might harm herself or Woody.
Coates, one of several psychologists and psychiatrists whom various members of the couple’s family had seen over the year, was questioned by Woody’s lawyer. She portrayed Mia as filled with escalating rage after discovering Woody’s affair with Soon-Yi in January 1992. The psychologist said that Mia’s actions in the following months, which included angry phone calls and a gift to Woody of a Valentine with skewers through the hearts of her children, had convinced her that Mia might harm herself or Woody. “I understood from Mr. Allen that Miss Farrow had repeatedly called him and said that she thought he should be dead, that she wanted to kill him,” Coates testified. “I felt it was a really dangerous situation,” she said, explaining she told Woody that he should not visit Mia and her children at their country home because Mia remained so distraught. “In my clinical evaluation, this was a place where protection was needed.”
Coates, also testified that while she considered Woody’s relationship with Dylan to be “inappropriately intense,” she never observed him acting in a sexual way toward her. And she reported that an evaluation of Dylan conducted in 1990 found the girl easily “would be taken over by fantasy” when asked to describe something as simple as an apple tree.
The testimony of Dr. Coates – who regularly treated the couple’s biological son, Satchel, from 1990 to 1992, and often conversed or met with both parents – appeared to provide an alternative explanation for Woody’s behavior toward Dylan other than the one advanced by Mia.
Coates testified that on August 1, 1992, Mia called her after having learned that the affair with Soon-Yi was continuing. She described Woody as “satanic and evil,” pleaded with Coates to “find a way to stop him,” and told her that a week earlier she and Woody had been discussing the possibility of getting married, which she was still considering. Four days later, on August 5, 1992, Mia phoned her psychologist again: “in contrast to her agitated state in other calls,” she was “extremely calm” and told the psychologist that “Dylan had begun complaining that Woody had abused her.”
Coates broke the news to Woody of Dylan’s allegations. She described it as “one of the worst moments of my whole life. He sat on the edge of his chair and his eyes were very wide,” Coates recalled. “He said, ‘I’m completely flabbergasted. I’m completely flabbergasted.’ He said it over and over again.” [Click here to read the rest of Dr. Coates’ testimony.]
Also on August 5, 1992, Mia’s longtime best friend, Casey Pascal, called to tell her that, the previous day, her babysitter, Alison Strickland, saw “Woody kneeling on the floor holding Dylan, with his face in her lap” after the two women had left their children in Mia’s Connecticut home with Woody and another babysitter to go shopping together. Over the next two or three days, Mia videotaped Dylan accusing Woody of molesting her.
Casey Pascal’s babysitter, Alison Strickland, testified that [on August 4, 1992, the day the alleged molestation occurred ] she saw Woody kneeling before Dylan “in a way that bothered” her.
On August 5, 1992, Mia’s friend since childhood, Casey Pascal, called Mia to report something the babysitter had told her. The day before, Casey’s babysitter had been in the house looking for one of the three Pascal children and had been startled when she walked into the TV room. Dylan was on the sofa, wearing a dress, and Woody was kneeling on the floor holding her, with his face in her lap [Woody testified at the child custody hearing in 1993 that he knelt, speaking to Dylan, but did not put his head in her lap]. The babysitter did not consider it “a fatherly pose,” but more like something you’d say “Oops, excuse me” to if both had been adults. She told police later that she was shocked. “It just seemed very intimate. He seemed very comfortable.”
Mia’s children’s nanny testified that Mia was not always a good mother and had once slapped an adopted son across the face for not finding a dog leash.
In two affidavits filed with Woody’s lawyers, Monica Thompson, Mia’s nanny, painted a less than tranquil portrait of Farrow’s household. She charged that Mia gave her biological children more gifts and possessions and depended on her adopted children “to do all the chores in and around the house.” She also said that “the children were scared of their mother;” and since discovering Soon-Yi’s affair with Woody, “Mia has suffered dramatic mood swings and had screaming fits about Mr. Allen – these fits of rage were often conducted in front of the children where she would say mean and nasty things about Mr. Allen.”
Woody produced a surreptitious recording of a phone call from Mia’s Connecticut housekeeper that disparaged Mia’s abilities as a mother.
Woody’s sister testified that Mia taught the children to hate him.
In testimony, “Woody acknowledged the pain his relationship with Soon-Yi had caused the family” and noted that he tried to “insulate the rest of the family from the ‘dispute’ that resulted, and that he tried to ‘de-escalate the situation’ by attempting to ‘placate’ Mia.” [In contrast], Mia’s “failure to conceal her feelings from the rest of the family and the acting out of her feelings of betrayal and anger toward Woody enhanced the effect of the situation on the rest of her family.”
Various psychiatric experts testified or provided reports that concluded Woody’s behavior toward Dylan was “not explicitly sexual in nature but was abnormally intense” in that he made “inordinate demands on her time” and “focused on her to the exclusion of Satchel and Moses” even when they were present.
Although a team of investigators from the Yale-New Haven Hospital retained by the Connecticut State Police concluded that Dylan had not been abused, Judge Wilk, who presided over the custody hearing, said he found the evidence inconclusive. Judge Wilk questioned the manner in which the Yale-New Haven team carried out its investigation of the allegations, as well as conclusions by two psychotherapists who treated Dylan that she had not been abused. In his decision, Judge Wilk wrote: “I am less certain, however, than is the Yale-New Haven team, that the evidence proves conclusively that there was no sexual abuse.” In almost every way, Judge Wilk’s opinion was a repudiation of the parental role of Woody. The judge said he considered Woody’s affair with Soon-Yi — and his inability to comprehend the impact the romance was having on the other children in the Farrow household — further evidence of his deficiencies as a parent.
Judge Wilk criticized New York investigators for subjecting Dylan to the trauma of a second sex-abuse investigation. [Over the course of her parents’ dispute, Dylan was questioned and examined, both psychologically and physically, numerous times by doctors, police, investigators, therapists and her mother — as a result, her memories of abuse will remain with her forever.]
Dr. Leventhal, head of the team of investigators from the Yale-New Haven Hospital that was retained by the Connecticut State Police, said that Dylan’s story had “a rehearsed quality” and that Mia might have “encouraged the child to fabricate because she liked to perform.” In a sworn statement entered into evidence, he also said: “Even before the claim of abuse was made, the view of Woody as an evil and awful and terrible man permeated the household, and the view that he had molested Soon-Yi and was a potential molester of Dylan permeated the household.”
A sworn statement by Leventhal, whose Yale-New Haven Hospital team interviewed Dylan nine times, was entered into evidence in the custody trial (in contrast to testifying in a criminal trial as an expert witness to the abuse allegations).
On May 3, 1993, a transcript of Leventhal’s statement, redacted for sensitivity by both sides in the custody case, was made public.
In the child custody decision handed down on June 7, 1993, Judge Wilk criticized the Yale-New Haven team, headed by Leventhal, for destroying their notes. Although there are no reports on why the notes were destroyed, it would be fair to say that the team shredded them to protect doctor-patient confidentiality (and Dylan’s privacy) and to prevent Dylan’s conversations with physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers from being disclosed during testimony and, thereby, being made public (privileged statements cannot be disclosed in court unless the patient or client consents to such disclosure – the purpose of this legal rule is to encourage those who seek professional assistance to communicate freely and openly with their service providers without fear of public exposure or legal repercussions).
In Illinois, for example, a judge can no longer review a sexual assault victim’s records to determine their relevance to a case. Instead, when a victim’s records are subpoenaed, she can assert the privilege and refuse to release them to anyone, including the judge. A victim’s records can be disclosed only with her consent. In fact, if a rape crisis counselor discloses confidential communications without a client’s consent, the counselor can be charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense. And, counselors benefit from these protections as well. In the past, faced with the prospect of being required to divulge private conversations with their clients, counselors sometimes have resorted to keeping two sets of records, or refusing to testify and being held in contempt of court.
None of the Farrow children or Previn children, including Soon-Yi, testified in the custody hearing. However, the start-stop videotape of Dylan accusing Woody of molesting her (made by Mia over a two- or three-day period beginning on August 5, 1992) was submitted as evidence. Additionally, Mia’s attorney read a letter from Moses to Woody that said: “You have done a horrible, unforgivable, ugly, stupid thing. I hope you get so humiliated you commit suicide.… Everyone knows not to have an affair with your son’s sister, including that sister, but you have a special way to get that sister to think that that is O.K.” Questioned by his own lawyer, Woody responded that Moses was manipulated by his mother and used the same words and phrases that she had used only days earlier.
Judge Wilk denied Woody (who had not been permitted to see Dylan since the custody dispute began) the right to visit his daughter for at least six months and possibly much longer. Judge Wilk acceded to Moses’s request not to be forced to see his father and denied Woody immediate visitation rights with Dylan, ruling that a further review be held after Dylan received psychological therapy; however, he ruled that supervised visits with Satchel would be allowed. The appellate court judge wrote: “While Moses’ feelings were certainly affected by his mother’s obvious pain and anger, we concluded that it would not be in Moses’ best interests to be compelled to see Mr. Allen if he does not wish to.” Additionally, Judge Wilk ordered Woody to pay Mia’s legal fees [$1 million].
In June 1993, Woody lost his attempt in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan to win custody of Moses, Dylan and Satchel. On June 7, 1993, in a scathing 33-page decision, Judge Wilk, who presided over the custody case, portrayed Woody as devious, hurtful and unreliable. And although a team of experts concluded that Dylan was not abused, Wilk said he found the evidence inconclusive.
Wilk awarded sole custody of Moses, Dylan and Satchel to Mia. He denounced Woody as “self-absorbed, untrustworthy and insensitive”; attacked him for the relationship with Soon-Yi, which he denied was “a benign relationship between two consenting adults”; undermined the conclusion of the Yale–New Haven Hospital team; rejected the opinion of Drs. Coates and Schultz as potentially being colored by loyalty to Allen; and demonstrated partiality to Mia’s accounts and witnesses.
Litchfield County State’s Attorney Frank Maco issued an extraordinary five-page decision announcing that although he has “probable cause” to prosecute Woody and personally “view[ed] the Wilk decision as vindicating the child’s complaint and the corresponding activities of the mother to memorialize the complaint,” he was not pursuing prosecution, for the sake of the child. Commenting afterward, William Dow III, of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, says, “It leaves him [Woody] a convicted child molester without the benefit of a trial.”[Source]
In his 33-page decision, Judge Wilk had few unkind words for Mia: he commended her as a caring and loving mother who had tried to protect her children from what he characterized as Woody’s manipulation and insensitivity.
Judge Wilk [his stinging opinion was probably overly influenced by his disgust for Woody’s relationship with Soon-Yi] questioned the findings of the Yale-New Haven Hospital investigators, stating that, in his opinion, whether or not molestation took place, “Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate.”
In 1995, to express her gratitude, Mia named a child she adopted, Gabriel Wilk Farrow, after the “leftist” judge — lawyers for some New York City landlords were “so convinced he was prejudiced against them that, in 1982, one of them requested that the State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigate him.” [Mia should have named another one of her children after Frank Maco, as well.]
On September 24, 1993, Litchfield County State’s Attorney Maco called a press conference to announce that he had “probable cause” to prosecute Woody on charges that he sexually molested his adopted daughter, but had decided to “spare her the trauma of a court appearance.” Maco’s remarks about the case were criticized by some legal scholars, who said “it was an unfair attempt to have it both ways by claiming victory without taking the case to trial.” Maco “seemed to go out of his way to say publicly that he believed the child had been molested; he was not obligated to make his decision, or his reasoning, public.”
On September 25, 1993, the New York Times reported on Maco’s press conference, quoting a professor at New York University Law School and an expert on legal ethics, who criticized Maco, saying: “You don’t declare the man guilty and then say you’re not going to prosecute, leaving him to defend himself in the press. It’s a violation of Allen’s constitutional rights, in my view. I can’t overemphasize how remarkable this is.” The following is the rest of the report.
A team of investigators at Yale-New Haven Hospital concluded that no sexual abuse had taken place but said both Mr. Allen and Ms. Farrow had disturbed relations with Dylan. Eleanor B. Alter, Ms. Farrow’s lawyer, had discounted the report, saying it was incomplete and inaccurate. Mr. Maco said he had requested the hospital study, which described Dylan as a dreamy child who “had difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality.”
But Maco discounted its findings, saying his own review of investigative reports and medical evaluations had convinced him that he did have enough evidence to take to trial. He said there was nothing in the report from the Yale clinic “that would lead me to question the credibility of the child.” He also cited the findings of the judge in the custody case, who called Mr. Allen’s conduct with Dylan “grossly inappropriate.”
Mr. Maco’s remarks about the case were criticized by some legal scholars, who said it was an unfair attempt to have it both ways by claiming victory without taking the case to trial.
Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University Law School and an expert on legal ethics, criticized Mr. Maco, saying, “You don’t declare the man guilty and then say you’re not going to prosecute, leaving him to defend himself in the press.”
“It’s a violation of Allen’s constitutional rights, in my view,” Mr. Gillers said. “I can’t overemphasize how remarkable this is.”
Woody filed complaints asking the state bar counsel to disbar Maco and requested that the State Criminal Justice Commission discipline Maco for making an accusation without producing an indictment – Woody condemned Maco as “cowardly, dishonest and irresponsible” for saying he had “probable cause” without releasing his evidence.
Woody objected strongly to Maco’s characterization of him as a criminal who would never get to refute the charge in court [after a 14-month investigation by both the states of Connecticut and New York, Woody was never arrested or charged with a crime; in fact, both states concluded that “the reports of abuse were unfounded” and “ruled that no abuse had occurred”]. So strong were Woody’s objections, in fact, that in October 1993 he filed an ethics complaint against Maco with both the Statewide Grievance Committee – a lawyers’ disciplinary group – and the state Criminal Justice Commission, which hires and fires prosecutors.
While the Criminal Justice Commission exonerated Maco that December, the Statewide Grievance Committee voted 6-5 with two abstentions to investigate Maco for alleged misconduct in his handling of the case. The vote overturned the ruling by Maco’s local committee, which had found in his favor. Susan Levine, a member of the local grievance committee, recalls the deliberation over Maco’s actions. “We ruled that even though Maco was close to the line, he didn’t cross it,” said Levine. “We were very surprised when statewide overturned it.”
On February 3, 1994, the New York Times reported that a disciplinary panel found “Maco’s handling of the child-molestation complaint against Woody was cause for ‘grave concern’ and may have prejudiced the legal battle between Woody and Mia” – the following is the rest of the report. [After 31 years as state’s attorney, Maco retired in 2003 at the age of 56. The outcome of the complaint filed by Woody against Maco to the Statewide Grievance Committee was still pending after four years of investigation, so the committee voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, but some members criticized Maco for his “lack of sensitivity in this case to the concept of presumption of innocence.”]
While its decision amounted to a stern rebuke of the prosecutor, Frank S. Maco, the state Grievance Panel concluded that Mr. Maco, the State’s Attorney for Litchfield County, had not violated any provision of the state’s code of conduct for lawyers. The panel, a state agency, could have voted sanctions ranging from censure to disbarment.
On September 24, 1993, Mr. Maco said at a news conference that there was “probable cause” to charge Mr. Allen with molesting Dylan O. Farrow, his and Ms. Farrow’s daughter, in 1992, when she was 7. But he said he would not charge the film maker, in part because a prosecution could be traumatic for the child.
The grievance panel revealed that on the same day Mr. Maco sent a copy of his statement to the Surrogate’s Court judge in Manhattan who will decide whether to void Mr. Allen’s adoption of Dylan and another of his and Ms. Farrow’s children, Moses, now 16.
That act, the panel wrote, “was inappropriate, unsolicited and potentially prejudicial.”
“In most circumstances,” the panel wrote, Mr. Maco’s comments “would have violated the prosecutor’s obligation to the accused.” But because Mr. Allen had previously criticized the prosecutor’s handling of the case, they concluded, Mr. Maco was justified in responding.
Prosecutors are generally barred from making accusations that are not contained in formal charges, according to legal experts. “This amounts to a public reprimand, though they’re not calling it that,” said Kate Stith, a law professor at Yale University and a former Federal prosecutor.
Though the decision was “quite damning,” she said she was not surprised that the panel did not punish Mr. Maco, because lawyers are rarely disciplined for their public statements.
In March 1993, a team of child-abuse specialists at Yale-New Haven Hospital, who were brought into the case by prosecutors and the police, concluded that Dylan had not been molested. In June, a Supreme Court judge in Manhattan awarded Ms. Farrow custody of the estranged couple’s three children and sharply restricted Mr. Allen’s right to visit them.
Woody maintained that Mia’s allegations concerning the sexual abuse of Dylan were fabricated by Mia both as a result of her rage over his relationship with Soon-Yi and as part of her continued plan to alienate him from his children.
On October 7, 1993, the New York State Department of Social Services dropped its investigation into the child molestation allegations. It concluded: “No credible evidence was found that the child named in this report has been abused or maltreated; therefore, the report has been considered unfounded.”
The state Department of Social Services informed Woody in a letter dated October 7, 1993, that it had closed the 14-month-old investigation into the charge that Woody sexually molested his 7-year-old daughter, saying they consider the accusation unfounded.
To Woody and his allies, the decision was another in a string of small and belated victories in the campaign to restore his reputation. “It should have been done earlier, but it helps in our efforts to convince people that it didn’t happen,” Elkan Abramowitz, Woody’s lawyer, said.
Woody noted in a statement released October 25, 2993 that the latest milestone came seven months after the finding by a team of child abuse investigators at Yale-New Haven Hospital that no molestation took place. “Now, the New York State Department of Social Services agrees,” he said, “and still it’s been 15 months since I’ve been allowed to see or speak to my daughter.”
Ross wrote: “Mr. Allen maintains that Ms. Farrow’s allegations concerning the sexual abuse of Dylan were fabricated by Ms. Farrow both as a result of her rage over his relationship with Ms. Previn and as part of her continued plan to alienate him from his children. However, our review of the record militates against a finding that Ms. Farrow fabricated the allegations without any basis. Unlike the court at IAS, we do not consider the conclusions reached by Doctors Coates and Schultz and by the Yale-New Haven team, to be totally unpersuasive. While the tendency of Dylan to withdraw into a fantasy and the inconsistencies in her account of the events of August 4, 1992, noted particularly by the Yale-New Haven team, must be taken into account in the evaluation of these serious allegations, the testimony given at trial by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan’s behavior toward Mr. Allen both before and after the alleged instance of abuse, suggest that the abuse did occur. While the evidence in support of the allegations remains inconclusive, it is clear that the investigation of the charges in and of itself could not have left Dylan unaffected.”
Ross agreed with the opinion of Dr. Brodzinsky that contact with Woody was necessary to Dylan’s future development, but that initially any such visitation should be conducted in a therapeutic context – he added that, at the very least, the process of investigation itself has left the relationship between Woody and Dylan severely damaged, and the consensus is that both Woody and Mia need to be involved in the recovery process.
Expert medical testimony indicated that it would be harmful for Soon-Yi not to be reintegrated into the family; however, the best interests of Dylan, Moses and Satchel would clearly be served by contact with their sister Soon-Yi, personally and not in Woody’s presence – seeing both Soon-Yi and Woody together in the unsupervised context envisioned by Woody would, at this early stage, certainly be detrimental to the best interests of the children.
Ross wrote that in view of the totality of the circumstances, the best interests of these children would be served by remaining together in the custody of Mia, with the parties abiding by the visitation schedule established by the trial court.
On May 12, 1994, Appellate Court Judge J. Carro argued that visitation rules imposed by the Judge Wilk were unduly restrictive with respect to Satchel. The following is J. Carro’s opinion in its entirety from the same brief submitted to the court in 1994 (one judge concurred with this partial dissent in opinion from that of J. Ross). Dissenting in part with Ross’ opinion, Carro wrote that he agreed with Ross’ conclusions, except for the affirmance of the order of visitation with respect to Woody’s son Satchel, which he found to be unduly restrictive. J. Carro wrote the following opinion.
“There is strong evidence in the record from neutral observers that Woody and Satchel basically have a warm and loving father-son relationship, but that their relationship is in jeopardy, in large measure because Woody is being estranged and alienated from his son by the current custody and visitation arrangement. Frances Greenberg and Virginia Lehman, two independent social workers employed to oversee visitation with Satchel, testified how “Woody would welcome Satchel by hugging him, telling him how much he loved him, and how much he missed him.” Also described by both supervisors “was a kind of sequence that Woody might say, ‘I love you as much as the river’, and Satchel would say something to the effect that ‘I love you as much as New York City’ * * * then Woody might say, ‘I love you as much as the stars’, and Satchel would say, ‘I love you as much as the universe’.
“Sadly, there was also testimony from those witnesses that Satchel had told Woody, ‘I like you, but I am not supposed to love you;’ that when Woody asked Satchel if he would send him a postcard from a planned trip to California with Mia, Satchel said, ‘I can’t [because] Mommy won’t let me.’ And on one occasion when Satchel indicated that he wanted to stay with Woody longer than the allotted two-hour visit, ‘Satchel said he could not stay longer because his mother had told him that two hours was sufficient.’ Perhaps most distressing, Satchel ‘indicated to his father that he was seeing a doctor that was going to help him not to see him anymore, and Satchel indicated that he was supposed to be seeing this doctor perhaps eight or ten times, at the end of which he would no longer have to see his father.’
“In contrast to what apparently is being expressed by Mia and Woody to Satchel, Woody has been reported to say only positive things to Satchel about Mia, and conveys only loving regards to Moses and Dylan through Satchel. Thus I find little evidence in the record to support the majority’s conclusion that ‘Woody may, if unsupervised, influence Satchel inappropriately and disregard the impact exposure to Woody’s relationship with Satchel’s sister, Soon-Yi, would have on the child.’
“Dr. Susan Coates, Satchel’s therapist until December 1992, and the only expert to testify about Satchel’s mental health, stated that Woody’s parental relationship with Satchel was essential to Satchel’s healthy development.
“I do not believe that Woody’s visitation with Satchel for a mere two hours, three times a week, under supervision, is reasonable and meaningful under the circumstances, or that exceptional circumstances are presented that warrant such significant restriction on visitation with Satchel. Woody and Satchel clearly need substantial quality time together to nurture and renew their bonds and to foster a warm and loving father-son relationship. Obviously this cannot occur overnight; but more significantly, it is almost inconceivable that it will occur even over an extended period of time if visitation is limited to three two-hour periods per week under the supervision of strangers, as ordered by the trial court and affirmed by the majority.”
On October 5, 1994, Woody lost an appeal for relief from the custody ruling by Judge Wilk that forbade his seeing Dylan (who Mia renamed Eliza but who now goes by the name Malone) and Moses and that allowed court-supervised visits only with Satchel (who Mia renamed Seamus). Dylan and Satchel (who now goes by the name Ronan) have not had a relationship with their father since the split. Mia went on to adopt six more children as a single woman and remains single to this day. Woody and Soon-Yi married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters.
Fast forward to the present day.
When Woody was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on January 12, 2014, Mia and Ronan published tweets (see images below) that brought the more than 20-year-old sexual allegations back into the headlines and triggered a story in defense of Woody by Robert B. Weide, which was published at the Daily Beast on January 27, 2014.
A few months earlier, in both October and November 2013, Mia was featured in Vanity Fair articles where she rehashed her 1992 interview with the magazine about the molestation allegations – Mia linked to the November 2013 Vanity Fair article during the Golden Globes with the text: “Is he a pedophile? Read this Vanity Fair article and make up your own mind.” It was in the November 2013 piece that Dylan first went public with her story.
On February 1, 2014, Dylan, 28, responded to Weide’s story with an open letter in Nicholas Kristof’s column in the New York Times – it’s her memory as she first recalled it publicly in a November 2013 piece for Vanity Fair, but with many new details.
In October 2013, Ronan landed his own daytime show on MSNBC, debuting February 24, 2014. According to Michael Wolff of the Guardian, “Ronan has been promised a grateful MSNBC that his public fight with Woody is far from over.” The timing of the tweets about Woody being a pedophile and the debut of Ronan’s new show is not a coincidence – in 2012, Woody was nominated for an Oscar in the best screenplay and best director categories for ‘Midnight in Paris’ (plus the film was nominated for best picture), and he won the Oscar for best screenplay, yet the Farrows said or tweeted nothing.
Wolff also wrote: “Weide, who made the 2012 PBS American Masters documentary about Allen, followed up with his close analysis of exactly what happened in 1992. It’s quite a demolition job on the Vanity Fair piece, deconstructing timeline, opportunity and circumstance. What’s more, it paints a far more complicated picture of Mia from the one she has curated about herself, including that her brother is in jail for child molestation and that her son, Moses, no longer speaks to her and accuses her of ‘brainwashing’.”
On February 5, 2014, Dylan’s brother Moses, 36, a family therapist, spoke to People magazine in defense of Woody, accusing their mother, Mia, of poisoning the children against their father:
“My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister. And I hated him for her for years. I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi.”
Moses, who is estranged from Mia and many of his siblings and is now close to Woody and Soon-Yi, also told People magazine:
“Of course Woody did not molest my sister. She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him. The day in question, there were six or seven of us in the house. We were all in public rooms and no one, not my father or sister, was off in any private spaces. My mother was conveniently out shopping. I don’t know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother. Pleasing my mother was very powerful motivation because to be on her wrong side was horrible.”
Moses accuses Mia of bullying him as well.
“Our mother has misled the public into believing it was a happy household of both biological and adopted children,” he says. “From an early age, my mother demanded obedience and I was often hit as a child. She went into unbridled rages if we angered her, which was intimidating at the very least and often horrifying, leaving us not knowing what she would do.”
Moses says that his own life has been made better by spending time with Woody.
“I think my sister is missing a great deal in life in not reconnecting with her father, who had always adored her,” he says. “It’s important that she assert her independence from our mother and not go through life with the false impression that she has been molested by my father. I am very happy I have come into my own power, separating from my mother, which has led to a positive reunion with my father.”
Dylan responded to Moses’ assertions in People magazine, insisting that she is telling the truth, calling her brother’s comments “lies” and “a betrayal,” and telling People, “My brother is dead to me”:
“This is such a betrayal to me and my whole family. My memories are the truth and they are mine and I will live with that for the rest of my life.
“My mother never coached me. She never planted false memories in my brain. My memories are mine. I remember them. She was distraught when I told her. When I came forward with my story she was hoping against hope that I had made it up. In one of the most heartbreaking conversations I have ever had, she sat me down and asked me if I was telling the truth. She said that Dad said he didn’t do anything, and I said, ‘He’s lying.’
“I don’t know where he gets this about getting beaten. We were sent to our rooms sometimes.
“I will not see my family dragged down like this. I can’t stay silent when my family needs me and I will not abandon them like Soon-Yi and Moses. My brother is dead to me. My mother is so brave and so courageous and taught me what it means to be strong and brave and tell the truth even in the face of these monstrous lies.”
Mia declined to respond to Moses’ accusations, tweeting:
Woody’s sister, Letty Aronson, told People that he is devastated by Dylan’s letter:
“He feels very badly for Dylan, that she has been so poisoned by her mother.”
Woody’s defense attorney, Elkan Abramowitz, told the Today show on February 4, 2014:
“Woody’s reaction is one of overwhelming sadness because of what has happened to Dylan. She was a pawn in a huge fight between him and Mia Farrow years ago, and the idea that she was molested was implanted in her by her mother. That memory is never going to go away. So the fact that she says this now, that it happened 20 years ago, is totally understandable. In my view, she’s not lying. I think she truly believes this happened. That’s what the vice of this is. When you implant a story in a fragile 7-year-old’s mind, it stays there forever. It never goes away.”
On February 7, 2014, Woody responded to Dylan’s published account with his own open letter in the New York Times, denying the allegations and blaming Mia for planting what he says is a false memory in Dylan’s mind due to Mia’s anger at him following the revelation of his relationship with Soon-Yi. The following is a report by Time on his rebuke of Dylan’s claims.
Woody Allen has finally broken his long silence about claims that he molested Dylan Farrow, his adopted daughter with Mia Farrow, when she was 7. After several weeks in which the allegations have been rekindled by an open letter from Dylan, now 28, in the New York Times, and tweets by Mia and Ronan Farrow, Woody has responded with a fiery letter, also published in the Times.
“Of course, I did not molest Dylan,” Woody writes. “I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman…”
Woody blames Mia for planting what he says is a false memory in Dylan’s mind, due to Mia’s anger at him in the midst of a custody battle following the revelation of his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, Mia’s adopted daughter with composer Andre Previn.
“If from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root?”
Woody further suggests Mia may have lied under oath about the paternity of their son, Ronan, who Mia recently suggested, in a November 2013 Vanity Fair article, may be the child of Frank Sinatra.
“Granted, [Ronan] looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.”
Woody also claims that Mia enticed one of his former girlfriends, Stacey Nelkin, to testify falsely against him. Nelkin confirmed Woody’s statement during a live conversation with Piers Morgan on February 3, 2014:
“[They] asked if I would testify and admit that I was 15 when we dated, and I said, ‘no,’ because I was not 15. I was 17, 18 and 19, and to me there’s a big distinction between that, and I think they were looking for the fact that, you know, 15 is jail bait. Seventeen is a very different story,” said Nelkin, who first met Woody on the set of the film Manhattan. “I would not go along with that, so I think she was trying to create a pattern of, ‘this is a man who looks for young girls and seduces them unwittingly;’ and that’s not true. I was very, very much willing to be dating him; I was thrilled.”
As evidence of his innocence, Woody points to the “impartial” findings of an investigation carried out by the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, which ruled that no abuse had occurred. He also cites statements from Moses Farrow, a son he adopted with Mia, who says that his mother “drummed it into me to hate my father.” Now 29, Moses is a family therapist who has renewed his relationship with Woody.
In what sounds like the setup to a joke in a one of his movies, Woody describes the Connecticut “attic” in which the assault allegedly occurred as “a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up.” Due to his acute claustrophobia, he says he was never able to stay in the space for more than a few minutes. He goes on to suggest that Mia imagined that location because of a song about incest, “With My Daddy in the Attic,” written by singer-songwriter Dory Previn, which leads to another ad hominem attack in which he notes that the song is on the same 1970 album as “Beware of Young Girls,” which Previn wrote after Mia Farrow took up with her then-husband, Andre Previn, in 1968. [When asked at the child custody hearing in 1993 about the song, “Beware of Young Girls,” by Dory Previn, Mia said: “I know that it referred to me.”]
No charges were ever filed against Woody, and a Connecticut prosecutor recently said the state’s statute of limitations meant that he could no longer be charged, even if conclusive evidence was found.
On February 8, 2014, Dylan said that Woody’s letter in the New York Times consists of “the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years,” reported The Hollywood Reporter.
In his letter, Woody said Mia vindictively coached her daughter during her breakup with the star director and actor, arguing that Mia manipulated her daughter to seek revenge against Woody.
Dylan Farrow responded: “Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me – but nothing he says or writes can change the truth. For 20 years, I have never wavered in describing what he did to me. I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life.”
Woody said in his February 7th letter he will no longer be commenting on the case. “Enough people have been hurt,” he wrote.
Mia with children and grandchildren, photographed at Frog Hollow, in Connecticut. Standing siblings, from left: Fletcher Previn, Minh Farrow, Isaiah Farrow, Matthew Previn, Thaddeus Farrow, and Quincy Farrow. With Matthew are his two daughters, Catherine and Lucy. Next to them are Fletcher’s two daughters, Maureen and Wynnefred, and on the chair beside Mia is Lark’s daughter, Sara Mckinzie.
In total, Mia has 15 kids (four biological and 11 adopted) – six Previns and nine Farrows (two of whom have died) – she adopted six of the 11 adopted children after splitting with Woody.
Tam Farrow, blind and adopted from Vietnam after Mia’s split with Woody, died of heart failure in 2000 at the age of 19 after a long illness.
Lark Previn, adopted from Vietnam during Mia’s second marriage to composer Andre Previn, died at the age of 35 in 2008 (she had contracted HIV in her 20s) – at the time she had been living in a shabby apartment in the Bronx and died in a hospital on Christmas Day of pneumonia while Mia was in the Congo (she left behind two daughters, ages 12 and 13).
In a May 2009 article by The Daily Mail, a reporter described the situation in the Farrow family:
“As a teenager, Lark was convicted of shoplifting hundreds of dollars worth of lingerie from a shopping mall with her adopted-sister Daisy and later struggled to rid herself of a drug habit. Father Timothy Tighe, the priest who presided over her funeral service, recalls: ‘Lark had very little money, but she really tried to do a good job in bringing the girls up. Her ex-husband, Chris McKinzie, is disliked by everyone in the family. When he arrived at the funeral he was asked to go. The family hates him because they blame him for the downfall of Lark. It was a blessing that he did as he was told and went away after paying his respects.’
“Lark’s death is among a long line of misfortunes to befall Mia and her increasingly dysfunctional family. While Mia has successfully campaigned for the world’s destitute and dispossessed, at her own hearthside a series of disasters have unfolded. The custody battle that followed the split with Woody had a huge impact on the Farrow family. As a friend commented in May 2009: ‘Many of Mia’s children never recovered from the shame of what happened. Lark, who was then in her late teens, was distraught and many who knew the family felt that this turned her towards drugs.’
“A still loyal Frank Sinatra threatened to send in his associates from the Mafia to break Woody’s legs, but this plan was put on hold after Mia begged her ex-husband not to do such a thing.
“In court papers at the time of Mia and Woody’s split, Soon-Yi claimed that many of her brothers and sisters had fallen into ‘theft and alcohol abuse and truancy’. Mia herself, she added, was ‘no Mother Teresa’. The allegations didn’t end there. In a tape handed to lawyers, seven-year-old Dylan was allegedly shown shaking and crying as she claimed that her father had abused her. During the custody fight that followed, a movie producer friend of Woody, Jane Reed Martin, testified that Mia showed favouritism towards her own four biological children and treated the adopted ones like second-class citizens. Indeed, she claimed that Lark was used by her mother as little more than ‘a scullery maid’.
“As for Mia’s attitude to Soon-Yi, she was quoted as saying: ‘I have tried to speak to her and asked her to come home. She has not responded, so I’ve given up. I no longer count her as family.’
“Yet as the Farrow clan gathered at Lark’s funeral, it was clear that at least some of her children are still close to their mother. In attendance were Woody’s estranged son Ronan, Mia’s three biological sons with Previn (a lawyer, accountant and architect) as well as Lark’s last boyfriend, Robert Garcia, who helped care for her as she was dying.”
Woody’s sister, Letty Aronson, told People magazine in 1992 that Mia is emotionally removed from her adopted daughters, recounting the first time she took her own daughter, Erika, to visit Mia after the birth of Satchel: “Afterward,” says Aronson, “my daughter kept talking about how the maid did this, the maid did that. I said, ‘What maid?’ She meant Lark.” Said a source close to Woody, according to People magazine: “We always joked that Lark would be the one to get out of the house and write the Mommnie Dearest book” [the source also claimed that, furious over the affair, Mia on separate occasions struck Soon-Yi with a chair, shredded her clothes and persuaded the other children not to talk to her].
The second adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn, Daisy, adopted from Vietnam, has not weighed in on the latest turn of events, but she told Vanity Fair in November 2013 that the Soon-Yi affair and abuse allegations “turned our world upside down – it was nothing you would wish on anyone.”
In the November 2013 Vanity Fair article, the youngest of Mia Farrow and Andre Previn’s three biological children, Fletcher Previn (his older twin brothers are Matthew and Sascha Previn), was characterized as Mia’s protector, having painstakingly edited Woody Allen out of every single family photo and video. “We can look at them and be reminded of the good and not be reminded of the bad,” he said.
On February 2, 2014, Ronan Farrow tweeted his support of Dylan, saying, “I love and support my sister and I think her words speak for themselves.”
In 2012 and earlier, Ronan wrote about Woody:
“He’s my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression.”
“I cannot see him. I cannot have a relationship with my father and be morally consistent.”
A source told The Daily Mail and the National Enquirer: “Ronan grew to hate his father. He was disgusted by Woody and his relationship with Soon Yi. Ronan couldn’t care less if Woody’s proud of him or not. The only person who matters to him is his mother.”
On August 30, 1992, Soon-Yi released a statement to Newsweek through Woody’s publicist:
“I could say many devastating things about Mia, but I will only do it if I must in a court… I have refrained from commenting, but when Mia brought up child molestation and then had her sisters and mother and kids and friends parade out in public and do her dirty work for her, climaxing with that tape of Dylan being given out, I felt I had to speak at this point. I’m not a retarded little underage flower who was raped, molested and spoiled by some evil stepfather – not by a long shot. I’m a psychology major at college who fell for a man who happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Mia. I admit it’s offbeat, but let’s not get hysterical.
“Please don’t try and dramatize my relationship with Woody Allen. He was never any kind of father figure to me. I never had any dealings with him. He rarely came to our apartment before his own children were born. Even then, he never spoke and, the truth is, I never cared that much for him. He was always preoccupied with work and never talked to me. Not really to any of us. Only when Dylan was born did he start visiting regularly and then only to play with the baby. My own father is Andre Previn, who came to visit pretty often and took us all out frequently.
“When I first got friendly with Woody, he and Mia were finished with their romance and were just friends. I think Mia would have been just as angry if he had taken up with another actress or his secretary. Mia was always very hot-tempered and given to rages which terrified all the kids. They can’t speak freely because they’re still dependent on her. But they could really tell stories, and I’m sure one day will. It’s true Mia was violent with me and I have conclusive proof, but I hope she and Woody can somehow head off a custody trial.
“The business of him molesting Dylan is so ridiculous that I won’t dignify it with a comment. Why Dylan repeats her story is another matter and a sinister one. I was not surprised that Mia made a videotape of Dylan saying these terrible things as I think the motive is obvious, but I was stunned that the tape would somehow find its way to the TV news.” [Click here to read the full statement.]