NEW YORK – A son of Robert F. Kennedy is facing misdemeanor charges after he struggled with nurses who tried to stop him from carrying his newborn son out of the maternity ward at a hospital near New York City.
Douglas Kennedy said he was trying to take the baby out of Northern Westchester Hospital for a quick walk when a group of nurses who thought the infant should remain indoors tried to stop him.
Security video obtained by WNBC-TV shows that the nurses stopped Kennedy from using an elevator, then tried to block him from using a stairwell.
The two sides disagree about what happened during the struggle. Kennedy said one of the nurses tried to snatch the child from his arms. The nurse, Cari Maleman Luciano, told police she was only trying to steady the "violent shaking" of the baby.
One nurse said Kennedy twisted her arm. Another said he kicked her in the pelvis. The security video shows a woman falling to the floor. Kennedy was eventually stopped from leaving the hospital by security officers.
The altercation happened Jan. 7. Mount Kisco police arrested Kennedy on Thursday. He was charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors.
Kennedy and his wife, Molly, said in a statement released through a publicist that the charges were "absurd."
"It is sickening to think that our simple desire to take our son outside for fresh air has been warped into a charge of child endangerment," they said. "The nurse had no right to attempt to grab our child out of his father's arms."
The couple said they hoped Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore would conclude that she had made "a grave error in making a crime out of a father protecting his baby."
An emergency room doctor at the hospital who was accompanying Kennedy when the altercation happened said in a statement that the nurses were "the only aggressors."
"Then and now I felt that Douglas would not be putting his healthy child at risk or danger by taking him for a quick walk outside," said Dr. Timonthy Haydock, who said he has been a friend of the Kennedys for decades. "To charge Mr. Kennedy with a crime is simply incomprehensible to me."
Kennedy is a reporter for Fox News and the 10th child of Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy.
Information from: WNBC-TV, http://www.wnbc.com