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Douglas Kennedy Acquitted Of Child Endangerment, Harassment Charges

Judge Donohue: Only People Who Put The Baby In Danger Were The Nurses
Douglas Kennedy arriving for court in Mount Kisco, NY on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

Douglas Kennedy arriving for court in Mount Kisco, NY on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

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MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Douglas Kennedy was acquitted Tuesday on charges stemming from a confrontation at a hospital maternity ward.

The faceoff took place as Kennedy tried to take his newborn son out of the hospital, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.

The ruling came from Judge John Donohue, who heard the case without a jury. At issue was whether Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, broke the law when he tried to take his two-day old child out of a Westchester County hospital.

The case focused on a videotape, which showed Kennedy trying to take his newborn son, Anthony, from Northern Westchester Hospital in January. Nurses told him it would violate hospital policy, but Kennedy tried to walk out anyway. At the trial, one nurse testified Kennedy twisted her arm as she tried to stop him.  Another claimed Kennedy lashed out at her as she reached for the baby.

“He kicked her. She fell to the ground as she flew across the floor. The video is atrocious,” said Eileen Letgeiser of the New York Nurses Association.

However, Kennedy said he never assaulted anyone, and was only trying to take the boy out for some fresh air. He said he was merely trying to protect his child.

“It’s okay for a father to want to be with his son and nobody should ever try to grab a baby from his parents’ arms and that’s what this case is all about,” Kennedy had said.

In acquitting Kennedy of child endangerment and harassment charges, Judge Donohue wrote that testimony showed that the baby was never in danger, except from the nurse’s actions.

There was no immediate comment from Kennedy on the verdict, but his attorney was holding a press conference Tuesday evening to react.

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