Police Report Details Kennedy Incident : Rape case: Woman said senator’s nephew tackled her near pool. In other developments, the family’s investigators are accused of intimidation.
The woman who charged that the nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy raped her, told police that she attempted to escape but that the nephew, William Kennedy Smith, tackled her, held her down and forced himself on her as she struggled vainly, a police report released Friday discloses.
The official Palm Beach police report on the March 30 incident at the Kennedy family’s oceanfront mansion here also reveals that emergency room doctors at Humana Hospital who examined the woman after the alleged attack said she had suffered a possible rib fracture.
However, the report describes the woman’s injuries as “minor” and lists them as abrasions and bruises.
Soon after the report was made public Friday, the already charged case took on added heat as the lawyer for the 29-year-old woman charged that private investigators for Smith, 30, apparently had attempted to “intimidate a material witness in this investigation.”
The attorney, David Roth, said he asked Palm Beach police and the state’s attorney to “fully investigate these allegations of witness tampering.” If true,they would constitute “obstruction of justice,” he said.
Roth said such attempts at “damage control” inevitably backfire and have strengthened the resolve of his client, whose name is being withheld under Florida law.
He would give no details, but referred reporters to charges by Joe Mincberg, a local attorney representing friends of the victim who allegedly picked her up at the Kennedy family mansion after she telephoned them for help.
Mincberg said that investigators for the Kennedy family were using “bullying tactics,” such as threatening to reveal unflattering elements of prospective witnesses’ backgrounds if they testify against Smith.
Mark Schnapp, a former federal prosecutor in Miami who is representing Smith, denied the charge. “There’s been no intimidation or any attempt to intimidate any witness in this case, at least by our investigators,” he said.
Schnapp said the investigators are all professionals with years of prior law enforcement experience, and he vowed that they would continue to uncover and present evidence to law enforcement authorities.
No charges have been filed against Smith, who in the company of his uncle, Sen. Kennedy and Kennedy’s son, Patrick, a Rhode Island legislator, met the woman at Au Bar, a chic nightspot here, in the early morning hours of March 30. The woman later agreed to drive Smith back to the family mansion.
Smith, a fourth-year student at Georgetown Medical School in Washington, has declined to talk with Palm Beach detectives, but has issued statements through his attorneys denying that he abused or used force on the woman. On Thursday, he called the claims a “damnable lie.”
Smith is the second son of Sen. Kennedy’s sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, and the late Stephen Smith, who managed the Kennedy family’s holdings until his death last August.
While the charges and denials of witness intimidation added new elements to the unfolding case, the official police report with its graphic account of the alleged sexual assault was the dominant event in Friday’s developments.
In the account, Palm Beach detective Christine Rigolo told of meeting the alleged victim about 10 hours after the reported attack at the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, where the woman had gone with a victim services counselor.
The woman told the detective that she was at Au Bar after midnight on March 30 and that she “met a subject who identified himself as William Smith, and introduced his uncle as Uncle Ted. The victim said she later realized that Uncle Ted was Sen. Ted Kennedy.”
The woman said she could identify the suspect and that she had given him a ride home to the Kennedy estate, the report said. She accepted an invitation into the residence.
“After a walk down to the beach, she said that she was leaving and began walking away and was attacked,”the police report said. “The victim said that she ran to the pool area where she was physically tackled by the subject known to her as William Smith and held down while he lifted her dress and pulled down her panties.”
The report said the woman did not believe her attacker was dressed and that she thought he completed the sexual act. “The victim said that she was struggling and telling him no,” the report said. “The victim said that she called friends to help her as she was terrorized by the events that occurred.”
An earlier interview of the alleged victim by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, to whom she first turned, described her as being quite upset and unwilling to give any details of the incident for some time.
In that interview, she said that after the assault Smith “continued to try and tell her he did not rape her.”
It appears unlikely that any charges will be filed in the case until at least the middle of next week. Craig E. Gunkel, a Palm Beach police spokesman, said detectives and crime scene personnel had conducted a search of the Kennedy compound Friday.
He said preliminary test results will be received next week. These comparisons of hair and blood samples provided by Smith with evidence taken from the medical examination of the woman could rule Smith out as a suspect but cannot positively identify him as having sexually attacked her. If they do not rule him out, police then are expected to await DNA results, which can require weeks longer to complete, but can provide positive identification in some cases.
David H. Bludworth, Palm Beach County state’s attorney, said his office will review evidence collected by the police and talk to all those involved before deciding whether to file charges.
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