The Woody Allen Controversy Reader: (4) Debunking Maureen Orth’s “Undeniable Facts About The Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation” — Examining Allen’s Court Losses and the False Claim That There Is “No Credible Evidence” Regarding Mia Farrow’s Motivations or Her Coaching of Dylan
This is an excerpt of a larger and more complete essay that debunks Maureen Orth’s false and misleading article “10 Undeniable Facts About The Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation”. This particular section focuses on Orth’s fourth claim — the fact that Allen lost his court battles with Mia Farrow and the state prosecutor who investigated him, along with the patently false proclamation by Judge Elliot Wilk that there was “no credible evidence” that Mia Farrow coached her daughter Dylan or acted out revenge against Woody Allen for dumping her for Soon-Yi Previn.
Here is Orth’s precise contention as stated in her article:
4. Allen subsequently lost four exhaustive court battles — a lawsuit, a disciplinary charge against the prosecutor, and two appeals — and was made to pay more than $1 million in Mia’s legal fees. Judge Elliott Wilk, the presiding judge in Allen’s custody suit against Farrow, concluded that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.”
It is true that Allen lost his court battle for custody of his children, which included two appeals. The reasoning behind those decisions was predicated on the fact that Allen was an unfit parent and that visitation with Dylan would not be in her best interest in light of the fact that he had a continued relationship with her sibling Soon-Yi Previn (whom he eventually married).
What those decisions did not do is suggest that Allen molested Dylan or provide any evidence of such. Don’t believe me? Read the decisions for yourself in their entirety.
First the initial lawsuit.
Then the first appeal.
And the second appeal.
Keep in mind that while Mia Farrow had initially adopted Dylan as an infant in 1985, and Moses as a two-year-old in 1980, Allen himself only adopted them at (Mia’s own urging) years later in 1991 when Dylan was 6 and Moses was 13. He was only considered their adoptive father for a few months before their battle for custody began, so its hardly surprising that this would cut in favor of Farrow in a custody battle.
It is also unsurprising that Allen was made to pay Farrow’s legal fees in the dispute and has absolutely no relevance to the allegation that he is somehow a child molester. For those unfamiliar with the law and custody disputes, the wealthier party is almost always asked to pay the legal fees of the less wealthy party — especially when the less wealthy party is the one that wins primary custody.
Courts routinely adopt this rule due to the assumption that the parent with custody will need the extra money to take care of the kids.
In fact, section 237(b) of New York’s Domestic Relations law now explicitly states that in cases involving the custody or visitation of a child, there shall be a “rebuttable presumption” that counsel fees shall be awarded to the “less monied” parent. This is in keeping with long held principles used by the courts to prevent wealthier parties from asserting purely economic leverage in trying to gain an advantage in the court system when domestic disputes are involved.
In this case, the “less monied” parent would have been Farrow (certainly well off, but not as wealthy as Allen).
So Orth’s subtle implication that Allen must have done something really wrong in order to be forced to pay his ex-girlfriend’s legal fees is just another instance of her disingenuousness by refusing to explain the full context of the facts and the law.
(Ironically, Farrow and her attorney, Eleanor B. Alter ended up parting ways over a fee dispute in her case with Allen.)
The fact that Allen “lost” by failing in his ultimate goal to get a formal suspension or disbarment of Frank Maco for his unethical behavior as a prosecutor doesn’t mean that Maco was vindicated for his dubious actions.
A disciplinary panel found in no uncertain terms that Maco’s behavior was cause for “grave concern” and may have prejudiced the legal battle between Allen and Farrow. They found that Maco’s conduct “was inappropriate, unsolicited and potentially prejudicial.”
Experts in legal ethics agree that Maco clearly violated a legal code of conduct, despite the fact that the disciplinary panel chose not to formally punish him.
As Kate Stith, a law professor at Yale University and a former Federal prosecutor admits, it’s extremely rare that fellow attorneys will severely discipline one of their own for ethical violations — choosing mere admonishments for first time offenses instead. So the fact that Allen didn’t get the specific punishment he was seeking hardly exonerates Maco, nor does it reflect on the credibility of the accusation regarding Dylan in any way.
Orth further writes:
Judge Elliott Wilk, the presiding judge in Allen’s custody suit against Farrow, concluded that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.”
It’s true that Judge Wilk wrote that statement on page 20 of his ruling. And it’s also true that his statement is objectively false. There is a wealth of credible evidence to suggest as much. The fact that a single judge claims otherwise without describing the full amount of evidence in an objective manner reflects more on that judge’s own bias, rather than the objective reality of the evidence.
What is the actual evidence that suggests that Dylan was coached by Mia Farrow that Wilk either completely ignored in his decision or was unaware of at the time of his ruling? Let’s go over it.
First, naturally, there is the conclusion of Dr. Julia Hamilton (Ph.D. in social work) and Jennifer Sawyer (Masters degree in social work) of the Yale-New Haven Child Sexual Abuse Clinic who interviewed Dylan extensively and suspected that she had been coached. Their report summarized the fact that Dylan “told the story in a manner that was overly thoughtful and controlling. There was no spontaneity in her statements, and a rehearsed quality was suggested in how she spoke.”
Keep in mind that these are experts hired by prosecutor Maco himself, whose jobs focused exclusively on investigations regarding child sexual abuse — hardly the kind of people who would be predisposed to discount the testimony of a child unless their experience caused a red-flag to be raised for them.
Then there is the testimony of Dr. John M. Leventhal, a medical doctor and pediatrician on the same Yale-New Haven team who also suspected that Dylan was coached.
(The New York Times report on his testimony says that Leventhal personally interviewed Dylan nine times. Though it should be noted that the report summary itself states that the specific interviews with Dylan were in fact conducted by Hamilton and Sawyer, suggesting that Leventhal’s testimony may have incorporated their expert findings into his own observations, though this reporting discrepancy has never been fully accounted for. The New York Times has never issued any correction to this report and thus presumably stands by it.)
In summarizing the collective findings of his team of experts (in addition to direct interviews with both Allen and Farrow as well as viewing the tape of Dylan in the direct presence of Farrow), Leventhal testified that 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.
“It’s quite possible — as a matter of fact, we think it’s medically probable — that she stuck to that story over time because of the intense relationship she had with her mother,” Leventhal said.
Even before the claim of abuse was made in August of 1992, he said, “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”, and thus served as a way of imprinting the story on to Dylan who most wanted to please her demanding mother.
Leventhal said another reason he doubted her story was that she changed important points from one interview to another, like where Allen had touched her. Another reason, he said, was that the child’s accounts had “a rehearsed quality.” At one point, he said she told him, “I like to cheat on my stories.”
That’s only the conclusion of the experts at the Yale-New Haven hospital that Connecticut police and prosecutors specifically chose to investigate the case. Then there are the statements of Monica Thompson, a nanny who testified that she witnessed Mia Farrow trying to get Dylan to make the specific accusations against Allen on tape, but that the process took days because Dylan seemed nonchalant about the efforts.
As recounted in the LA Times:
“Thompson said in a deposition that it took the actress two or three days to videotape Dylan making the accusations. At times the youngster appeared not to be interested in the process, the nanny said in sworn affidavits taken by Allen’s attorneys.
“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 further testified that “Dylan had her head hanging down and did not seem interested in the conversation.”
Thompson also said the day after the alleged incident, when she got to work, the actress took Dylan to the doctor.
“When they arrived home, Farrow said Dylan had been ‘afraid to talk to the doctor.’ On Thursday, she took Dylan back to the doctor. When they arrived home, Farrow told me that ‘everything is OK now — everything is set.’ ”
Thompson told Allen’s lawyers that Farrow, upon returning from the second doctor’s visit, seemed “very happy and excited for herself.”
On the day of the alleged incident, Thompson told Dylan’s other nanny, Kristi Groteke, “I don’t think anything happened. I think Mia is exaggerating. She’s trying to make you feel bad for not staying with Dylan the entire day.” (Source: Groteke’s book “Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 126.)
Still agree with Judge Wilk that there is “no credible evidence” that Dylan was coached? Ok then, let’s now move on to the statements of Mia Farrow herself, who was forced to admit that the her videotaped “confession” by Dylan had many “stops and starts” in it and that the first time she took Dylan to a doctor to reiterate her claims, Dylan refused to claim any form of molestation — claiming that Allen merely patted her shoulder instead.
According to the New York Times report, Farrow had to take Dylan away for four days before taking her to a second doctor.
By the time Farrow took Dylan to the second doctor visit (with enough time in between for any potential coaching or influence that would have been necessary), Dylan finally referred to her private areas in suggesting where Allen had touched her.
As indicated above, Dr. Kavirajan was duty bound to report Dylan’s statements to the police (regardless of whether he personally believed her or not), but found absolutely no physical evidence on Dylan’s body to suggest that she had been the victim of abuse, as Farrow herself was forced to admit.
There are no accounts of what Farrow said to Dylan or vice versa during the time between the first doctor visit when Dylan originally denied being molested, and the second doctor visit when she changed her story.
It was only after the second doctor visit (which occurred after an extended time that Farrow had alone with Dylan, and after the videotape made over the course of days, with stops and starts in it) that Farrow returned home and said to nanny Monica Thompson, “everything is OK now — everything is set.” in a “happy and excited” manner.
Not suspicious at all, is it? But according to Judge Wilk, apparently none of this demonstrates “credible evidence” of coaching.
As to the contents of the “start and stop” videotape that Farrow made of Dylan, we know that it was shot in eleven segments shot at different times in different places, one nude in a bathtub, others outside showing Dylan topless.
This fact (among many others) caused prosecutor Linda Fairstein, who has dedicated most of her life to putting away predators as director of the first sex crimes unit in the United States, to doubt the veracity of Dylan’s claims.
As Fairstein recounts in her interview with author Eric Lax:
“[It] sounded to me like one of the craziest things I’d ever heard. On every level, it’s the last thing you would do. First of all, videotaping her naked while asking again and again about what happened. Why are you exposing your child to these videos that someday will possibly be in the hands of the public or in the courtroom? That fact alone set off every alarm.”, Fairstein said.
Fairstein cites studies that have been done over the past twenty years on “How suggestible children are. Dylan’s been told a story, and there’s only one person left to please. Daddy’s already been thrown out of the picture. How frightening. Like any kid, you’re wanting to be with, if not two parents, the one parent. So I don’t imagine from that point on she was free to tell any other story. If you believe as I do that the allegation is false, then it is the fault of the woman who created the allegation who has mortally wounded this child.
“I was in the district attorney’s office thirty years, and this was my specialty for twenty-eight of them, so there were thousands of abuse cases in which I had a direct or supervisory role. I have no reason to believe this event happened.”
Still convinced that Judge Wilk was right when he said that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan”? Ok then, what about the testimony of retired New York Police Lt. Richard Marcus, formerly head of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit?
He said in his long experience, most reports by children that they had been sexually abused were definitely ‘founded.’
However, in Dylan’s specific case, it was a very different story.
He reviewed the tape Farrow made of Dylan accounting and found it “rehearsed”.
“I concluded that the child lacked credibility in that the manner in which the questions were asked (by Farrow) and the statements that were elicited did not convince me that the incident had, in fact, taken place,” Marcus said.
Marcus said that such leading questions as, “What did he do? Did he take your underpants off” and such statements as, “After touching you, he said…” smacked of “prompting or reminding the child of what she said previously.”
He described it as a form of “rehearsal” so that subsequent investigators “will start with a very worked-over trail.”
Marcus said it was the first time in his experience that a mother had taped her child to obtain evidence in an abuse case and he found it “violated the principles of objective investigation.”
Still not convinced? Then what about the testimony of Dr. Anne Meltzer, a psychologist and a sex abuse expert who had already testified in over 200 trials by the time she testified in Allen’s trial in 1993?
She called the tape flawed because it was made by “a person who was biased, not an objective professional interviewer.” She said in all of her hundreds of trials, Farrow’s tape was the first she had ever encountered where the tape was made by a parent.
She also noted how unusual it was for a child to talk about molestation so soon after it occurred.
Again, Wilk completely ignores this testimony, not even bothering to mention Meltzer’s name in his decision, let alone explaining why her testimony held no credibility in his eyes.
It’s clear from his own comments on the bench during the trial that Wilk’s decision was driven by his bias against Allen for having an affair with Soon-Yi — something Wilk deeply disapproved of, so he had to come up with an excuse to flatly ignore all of the evidence suggesting that Dylan had in fact been coached by her mother.
Wilk was widely known as a traditionalist when it came to cases involving divorce, child custody or domestic relationships.
Newsday quoted a divorce lawyer as saying, “[Wilk is] not the kind of judge I’d want to confess adultery to. I’d confess a terrorist act, like blowing up the World Trade Center, but not adultery.” (See Newsday, June 8, 1993, pg. 107.)
(By the way, you might be even more surprised to know that Mia, in her zeal to have Allen publicly branded as a child molester, actually leaked her own videotape of Dylan’s accusations to the TV news media at the time. This would be the same tape that she made of Dylan nude in the bathtub and topless outside with all the “starts and stops” in it.
Let me repeat this to allow it to sink in — Mia Farrow made a videotape of her daughter in the nude and at other times had her point to her crotch, then deliberately leaked this tape to the news media during the week of August 20th, 1992. That is how “protective” she is of Dylan.
And yet, incredibly, despite this fact, Judge Wilk actually stated on pg. 21 of his decision that he didn’t believe that Farrow “would have exposed her daughter and her other children to the consequences of the Connecticut investigation and this litigation if she did not believe the possible truth of Dylan’s accusation”.
This would be the same Mia Farrow who actively used her other children as pawns to give “exclusive interviews” to the press in the hopes that the press would tell them there whereabouts of Soon-Yi after she fled Farrow’s beatings of her. As recounted in the British Press:
“Joanna Molloy, the New York Post’s Woody-and-Mia correspondent, was astonished on Wednesday when Lark Previn, 19, one of the adopted Vietnamese children, appeared at her desk offering an exclusive interview in exchange for information about Soon-Yi’s whereabouts. Her mother had sent her, Lark told Ms Molloy.”
But apparently in Judge Wilk’s mind, Farrow is the kind of mother who would never subject her children to undue pressures of investigations out of concern for their well being and privacy.)
When asked why she had made the videotape before going to authorities, Mia Farrow said on the witness stand that she had begun to videotape Dylan because “I wanted this documented, because it had happened before.”
But Dylan has never claimed that this “happened before”. One of the key curiosities in the case is that Allen has only been accused one single time regrading one single incident (something that is very unusual with cases of genuine sexual predators, who often have high rates of recidivist activity). So why would Farrow make this claim on the stand?
If it had happened before, that would necessarily mean that Farrow allowed Allen to be with Dylan, knowing that he had already molested her. And it would also mean that this previous incident has never, ever found its way into the rumor mill regarding Allen’s behavior. Does that sound credible to you?
Still not convinced that Dylan wasn’t coached? Ok then. Let’s now turn to the statements of Moses Farrow — Woody and Mia’s adopted son, who was in the house at the time, and who recounts how Mia’s abusive nature towards her children shaped their obedience and responses.
Author Eric Lax provides additional evidence that Dylan was coached by Mia by speaking to Moses as well as sources who visited the Mia’s household regularly:
Around the time of the custody trial in 1993, a person who went often to the Farrow home found Dylan crying one day. The story has been confirmed with someone else who often visited. “Dylan asked me, ‘Is it okay to lie?’ She felt she didn’t want to lie and wondered, What would God think? She wanted an Attic Kids doll, but Mia forbade it. This was shortly before Dylan was to speak with someone connected with the trial. She said, ‘Mom wants me to say something I don’t want to say.’ Then the next week she had the Attic Kids doll with a yellow dress. I asked, ‘What happened?’ She said, ‘I did what my mom asked.’”
The story does not surprise Moses, who adds, “This, I can speak to with confidence. Mia’s ability and intent to mold her children to do her bidding was matched by her living in constant fear her secrets of abusive parenting would be divulged and the reputation she built as the loving mother of a large brood of adopted kids would be destroyed. My biggest fear was that we would be rejected, excommunicated rather, from her and the family. I lived in constant threat of this happening. As an adopted child, there is no bigger fear than to lose your family.”
Moses Farrow himself is even more direct in providing first-hand, eyewitness evidence that Dylan was coached by being there at the time. He has stated on social media: “So many times I saw my mother try to convince her that she was abused — and it has worked. Some day, I hope Dylan can escape from my mother, confront the truth and begin her own healing. #truthislouder”
He has stated unambiguously that he was able to observe the movements of both Allen and Dylan in Farrow’s house during the day in question that the abuse was supposed to have taken place, and that it was logistically impossible for it to have happened since one or both of them were in his sight the entire time.
The current views of Moses Farrow become even more remarkable when you read the full text of the letter he allegedly wrote to Allen during the custody trial in 1993. Here is the full text of the letter sent to Allen when Moses was 15 years old.
I know what you ’re trying to do to Mom and Dylan and Satchel, I know what you want, you want to bring Mom to court, and take Dylan and Satchel away from her and us, I don’t know who will win, but I do know that you can’t force me to live with you. . . . You have changed over the last months, you have become more hostile and anxious. All you want is the trust and relationship you had in the beginning of the time, you can’t have those worthy things because you have done a horrible, unforgivable, needy, ugly, stupid thing which I hope you will not forgive yourself for doing.
You probably think that Mom is telling me to say these things like before, but she didn’t, these are my thoughts and feelings toward you . . . If you take us to court, you are the one who is going to be sorry. I hope you get so humiliated that you commit suicide. And about seeing me for lunch, you can just forget about that. You brought these things to yourself, we didn’t do anything wrong. Mom is a GREAT mother, and she always finds the time and patience to play with us. All you did is spoil the little ones, Dylan and Satchel. You tried to communicate with me, but you were going too fast for me, I couldn’t let you just yet, I almost gave in to you, but your needs interfered with that. . . . 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 okay. Unfortunately Soon-Yi, who was that sister, hadn’t had a serious relationship before and probably thought that, okay, this is a great chance to see what a serious relationship is like. That’s probably why she did it. I just want you to know that I don’t consider you my father anymore. It was a great feeling having a father, but you smashed that feeling and dream with a single act.
I HOPE YOU ARE PROUD TO CRUSH YOUR SON’S DREAM.
[Source: “Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pgs. 107–108.]
Allen immediately accused Farrow of putting Moses up to writing the letter and coaching him to say what he said. With some of the specific phrasing used, it’s easy to discern why, especially in light of his remarkable about-face today.
The sentence that reads “You probably think that Mom is telling me to say these things like before, but she didn’t, these are my thoughts and feelings toward you” is particularly curious coming from a 15-year-old, evincing a conscious knowledge that it comes across as forced and coached (“telling me to say these things like before”, with a desperate need to try and dispel the notion with a peremptory denial.
Moses now claims that this was all part of his coaching and brainwashing by Farrow to learn to hate Allen. If this is true, is it so much of a stretch to think that Dylan may have been brainwashed as well?
Moses also said: “What breaks my heart the most is while I know that my sister, Dylan, believes what she says, I also know from my own experience, that it simply never happened.”
So let’s be as clear as possible here: To deny the possibility that Dylan was coached and brainwashed by her mother to make false accusations against Woody Allen is to necessarily call Moses Farrow a liar and deny his own claims of abuse. You cannot simultaneously believe both people at the same time.
For those who would now self-righteously claim that we should always believe those who allege abuse without regard to any evidence that may cast doubt on such claims, it is incumbent on them to somehow explain why those same rules do not apply to Moses Farrow.
Judge Wilk obviously did not hear the current statements of Moses at the time he wrote his decision. But regardless of whether or not he would have found a way to dismiss Moses’s statements, its clear that the notion of there being “no credible evidence” that Mia Farrow coached Dylan is no longer valid (especially when it was never valid to begin with).
Then there is the curious fact that, in her claims Allen molested her, Dylan emphasizes the point that Allen told her that they would “go to Paris”, implying a scenario where he would somehow whisk her away, alone, to a foreign country where he could have his way with her without any intrusions.
In fact, Kristi Groteke admits that both Allen and Farrow routinely discussed taking everybody in Farrow’s household and moving to Paris — periodic discussions that everyone there was aware of.
Groteke said, “Amazingly enough, the very night before she discovered the photos, Mia said, she had been sitting in her living room with Fletcher, Woody, and Soon-Yi, and they had all been chatting animatedly about pulling up their Manhattan roots and moving to Paris, where they had vacationed in the summer of 1990. Woody spoke about how exciting such a change would be for all of them…” (“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 81)
Groteke also goes on to describe what Dylan said to the Yale-New Haven team and what Farrow in turn said to Dylan during this time:
Dylan, at one of her first sessions, told the Yale team: “I love my mother. That’s all I have to say. I love my mother and I hate my dad.” She confided that she had begun to feel this after she learned about Woody’s affair with Soon-Yi. “I’m like, why me?” she said. “Why do I have to solve this problem?” On October 2 Mia admitted to the Yale team that she had told Dylan: “If you don’t want Daddy to be your daddy anymore, he doesn’t have to be.” Throughout the grim days of that fall and winter, she would, in fact, constantly reassure Dylan with these same words.
Then on October 30, Dylan dropped a little bomb in New Haven: She recanted her testimony. When Mia brought her for her session that day, Mia explained to the social workers that Dylan had not wanted to come. In addition, as Mia testified, Dylan had earlier confided to her that Woody “didn’t do anything; nothing happened.” Later that afternoon, however, Dylan reversed herself and denied her denial.
The Yale-New Haven Report had concluded, among other things, that: 1) Dylan was so enmeshed with her mother that she felt herself to be “her mother’s problem solver,” and, 2) Dylan’s telling about the touching could be construed as a way to protect her mother and banish her father.
(“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 168. Note how Groteke admits that Dylan only began to feel hatred for Allen specifically “after she learned about Woody’s affair with Soon-Yi”. )
Then there is Groteke’s description of how Dylan described Allen, and the specific reason for her hatred:
Mara Thorpe, the court-appointed guardian for Dylan and Moses, was interviewing the family. “How do you feel about Woody Allen?” she asked Dylan. As an answer, Dylan marched over to the window, where a pink vase full of dried roses sat. She took the roses out of the vase and clutched them to her chest as she lay down on the floor like a slain princess being prepared for burial. And she said in a serious little voice, “Woody Allen killed me.”…Last spring we drove by Woody’s apartment, and [Dylan] said, “Oooh, oooh, Woody Allen lives here.” And I asked her, “What is it about Woody Allen?” She replied, again with tremendous gravity, “He took my sister away.”
(“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 174. Note the fact that she refers to him as “Woody Allen”, rather than “daddy” or similar term. Also note the reason she gives for her hatred — not molestation, but rather the fact that “he took my sister away”, the same motivation for hatred that her mother had.)
Then there is this tidbit that Groteke recounts as well:
On November 12, Andre [Previn] came to visit, and the next day Dylan announced to the Yale-New Haven team, “Andre is my new daddy.” Had she been coached? Was she renouncing Woody as a way of pleasing her mother? Or as a way of pushing all the Woody-associated unpleasantness out of her life?
(“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 194)
Groteke also quotes from the testimony of Dr. Stephen Herman, a clinical psychiatrist called to testify on Farrow’s behalf in the custody case:
Dr. Herman noted that it was “unfortunate” that Mia, and not an objective and trained evaluator, videotaped Dylan’s testimony, mainly because the way she focused on specific things could possibly “set a tone for a child about how to answer. I think it could raise anxieties of a child.” In short, he said, “I don’t think it helps matters, I think it complicates matters.”
(“Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal”, pg. 169)
Wilk did not even see fit to include Herman’s observation in his decision.
Wilk also completely dismissed the testimony of Richard Marcus, a former Lieutenant with the New York Police Department’s Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit and an expert on child abuse investigations.
Here is an excerpt from Marcus’s testimony (reprinted on pg. 3 in the April 7, 1993 edition of Newsday) that Wilk cavalierly dismisses out of hand (under questioning by Allen’s attorney, Elkan Abramowitz):
Q: Give us your opinion in respect to Dylan and her responses on the video.
A: My opinion is the video violates the principle of objective questioning.
Q: What is the basis for your opinion?
A (referring to a transcript of the video): Page 3, Line 13: It starts off OK, but before the child can respond . . . Mia Farrow asks, `How did he touch you? With what?’
Q: Continue with the basis for your opinion.
A: Page 8, Lines 7 and 8: Mia Farrow asks, `And what did he do? Did he take your underpants off?’ Here on Page 8, again 17 and 18: . . . `And after he was touching you, he said,’ — to me that smacks of prompting, trying to remind the child of what she said previously . . . Page 10, Lines 23, 24, 25: `So when you went into the attic . . . you just forgot it, you just didn’t have any on, is that it?’
Q: What is the significance of that?
A: Of course, it’s leading. It’s trying to remind the child of something she may have missed saying earlier, as if you were refreshing her recollection. On Page 18, Lines 17 and 18: `And it still hurts you?’ Again, that’s a leading question and in a way reinforcing the child’s prior comments.
Q: Directing your attention to Page 14, Line 20: Is that another example of a leading question?
A: I’m sorry. Yes. `Did he stick his whole finger in?’
Q: What is your opinion on the validity of the charges based on your viewing of the video?
A: It’s my conclusion the child lacked credibility. In the manner in which the questions were asked, the answers did not convince me that the incident had taken place.
As to this exchange and everything else Marcus said on the stand, Wilk can only respond with self-serving, conclusory statement that he “did not find his testimony to be insightful.”
These on the record sources ought to be more than convincing enough, but it should also be noted that there are still other sources on the Internet who claim to have been friends with Mia and Dylan and now insist (in admittedly uncharitable terms) that Dylan was brainwashed as a child and commonly told lies.
So now let’s return to Judge Wilk’s remarkable statement that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.”
Read Judge Wilk’s decision again in its entirety.
If you can, try to locate and quote where he destroys or even casts a modicum of doubt on the credibility of all of the direct witnesses and sources listed above (most of which, he never even bothers to mention in his decision).
Hint: You won’t be able to, because he never does.
It is simply astonishing that a judge can see a clinical psychologist take the stand to testify that “she warned Woody Allen that she feared for his safety because of threats made by Mia Farrow” and then claim that there is “no credible evidence” that “Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi”.
And yet, that is exactly the testimony that Judge Wilk heard directly.
It is completely astonishing that a judge can objectively recount the facts that “In February 1992, Ms. Farrow gave Mr. Allen a family picture Valentine with skewers through the hearts of the children and a knife through the heart of Ms. Farrow. She also defaced and destroyed several photographs of Mr. Allen and of Soon-Yi.” and then in nearly the same breath of his decision declare without any evidentiary support, “I do not view the Valentine’s Day card, the note affixed to the bathroom door in Connecticut, or the destruction of photographs as anything more than expressions of Ms. Farrow’s understandable anger and her ability to communicate her distress by word and symbol rather than by action.” — thus irrationally concluding that Farrow did not act out of “a desire for revenge”.
Yet that is precisely what Wilk wrote in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
It simply defies rational belief that Wilk can acknowledge the existence of this image and yet conclude that revenge played no part of Farrow’s motivations.
Despite the considerable evidence suggesting as much, you still aren’t required to ultimately conclude or believe that Dylan was actively coached by Farrow. However, as a rational thinking person, you are required to believe that Judge Wilk’s preposterous proclamation that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan” is objectively false. The credible evidence may not fully convince you personally as a subjective proposition, but it is objectively false and a complete denial of reality to suggest that such credible evidence simply doesn’t exist, even if you don’t happen to find it conclusive.
Likewise, it also objectively false that there is “no credible evidence” to suggest that Mia Farrow acted out of a desire for revenge against Allen for dumping her in favor of Soon-Yi. Naturally, it’s impossible to look directly into Farrow’s mind. But to deny the objective reality of the existence of the credible evidence listed above is akin to denying that we landed on the Moon.
So why did Wilk say what he did in the face of overwhelming evidence that contradicts his proclamations? Only he can say. But it is clear from the very tone of his decision that he personally despised Allen for having an affair with Soon-Yi, and thus was determined to minimize the significance of any evidence that might suggest that Farrow herself was an unfit parent.
His bias against Allen for the Soon-Yi affair was apparent well before the trial had concluded, interjecting his personal views during the questioning of the witnesses. His bias was so apparent at the time that even the press felt compelled to report on it at the time.
Perhaps Judge Wilk was also improperly influenced by his wife, attorney Betty Levinson, who has demonstrated her own bias in the Allen case and would have no doubt severely berated her husband at home for ruling against the side of a mother and child who claimed victim status, despite whatever the evidence was. Read her thoughts for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Perhaps he was also improperly influenced by Frank Maco, who unethically faxed Wilk and another judge his statement that he had “probable cause” to charge Allen without detailing any evidence against him in the hopes of affecting Allen’s custody suits, which again, caused him to be admonished for his unethical behavior.
Ultimately, determining Wilk’s state of mind is pure speculation, but anyone who has actually practiced law for any significant length of time will tell you that there are plenty of biased judges out there, and some are just plain stupid. Every lawyer with significant experience will tell you this if you get them to open up with candor. The bottom line is that it’s not their position as judges that ultimately give them authority, but rather, it is the strength of their reasoning in their decision-making that gives them authority by earning people’s respect.
Orth’s lazy reasoning here does nothing more than appeal to naked authority: A judge said it, so it must be true. Don’t bother to study the actual evidence. Don’t bother to read the full decision in context and assess if it is valid or not. Just respect the fact that a judge made a proclamation and take his word for it simply and purely because he is a judge.
That is what Orth’s argument amounts to. It is both a dishonest and lazy argument.
Even the Appeal Court (which ultimately upheld the ruling that gave custody to Farrow and found the abuse allegations “inconclusive”) had the integrity to state: “Unlike [Judge Wilk], we do not consider the conclusions reached by Doctors Coates and Schultz and by the Yale-New Haven team, to be totally unpersuasive.”
Orth manages to conveniently leave out that inconvenient truth.
Once again, you are not required by the wealth of credible evidence listed above to definitively conclude that Mia coached Dylan and acted out of revenge for the Soon-Yi affair. But you are required to admit that Judge Wilk was objectively wrong in stating that no such credible evidence even exists. It does exist, and always has.
If you deny the fact that this evidence exists and has always existed, then you might as well deny the fact of gravity.