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).