Prosecutor defends decision in Allen case

September 25, 1993|By New York Times News Service

A state's attorney in Connecticut said yesterday that he had "probable cause" to prosecute Woody Allen on charges that he sexually molested his adopted daughter but had decided to spare her the trauma of a court appearance.

The state's attorney in Litchfield, Frank Maco, said he had drawn up an arrest warrant for Mr. Allen but then decided not to pursue the case. He said the girl's mother, Mia Farrow, had agreed that dropping the charges was in her daughter's best interest.

"This was no time for a damn-the-torpedoes prosecutorial approach," Mr. Maco said at a news conference in Wallingford, Conn., yesterday.

But Mr. 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.

The announcement ended a criminal investigation that had dragged on for 14 months. But it did not signal a cease-fire between Mr. Allen and Ms. Farrow, his companion of a dozen years and the mother of his biological son, Satchel, and two adopted children, Dylan and Moses.

A bitter custody battle over the three children was decided in Ms. Farrow's favor last June, but Mr. Allen has appealed that ruling.

At dueling news conferences yesterday, Mr. Allen and Eleanor B. Alter, Ms. Farrow's lawyer, continued their name-calling.

At the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, Mr. Allen referred to Ms. Farrow as "the mother," called her "vindictive" and said she was in cahoots with officials whose "cheap scheming reeks of sleaze and deception."

Ms. Alter said later that in light of Mr. Maco's statements, "we would hope that parents of other children put in contact with Woody Allen would use vigilance."

Mr. Allen was accused of sexually abusing his daughter last August at Ms. Farrow's house in Bridgewater, Conn. Six months ago, Mr. Allen said that a team of investigators at Yale-New Haven Hospital discounted the allegations, saying they could find no physical evidence and that a videotape of the child's account was the result of either the child's imagination or someone else's.

Ms. Alter 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."

Mr. Maco said 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 Allen's conduct with Dylan "grossly inappropriate."

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