Belfast Telegraph

Allen's attorney addresses accusations

Woody Allen's attorney has appeared on US TV to discuss the accusations made against him by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

Over the weekend the 78-year-old film director was targeted in an open letter penned by his adopted daughter Dylan and published in part by the New York Times. In it she accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was seven and detailed specific incidents.

Dylan is Woody's child with his ex-partner Mia Farrow. In 1993 Mia won custody of Dylan during a bitter row which saw the director accused of abusing the girl - he has always denied the allegations.

Woody's lawyer Elkan Abramowitz has now appeared on NBC's Today show to discuss the allegations being made.

"His reaction is one of overwhelming sadness because of what has happened to Dylan," Elkan said. "She was a pawn in a huge fight between him and Mia Farrow years ago, and the idea that she was molested was implanted in her by her mother. That memory is never going to go away. So the fact that she says this now, that it happened 20 years ago, is totally understandable."

The attorney was then asked why Dylan would lie about the issue, given she is now 28 and settled with her husband.

"In my view, she's not lying. I think she truly believes this happened. That's what the vice of this is. When you implant a story in a fragile seven-year-old's mind, it stays there forever. It never goes away," he said.

Elkan was then asked about the custody judge's decision to place Dylan with Mia. Co-anchor Savannah Guthrie stated that the judge felt there was no evidence that Dylan was coached, prompting Elkan to raise the findings of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

"They determined after a six month inquiry not only that it didn't happen but that Dylan was coached by her mother. And that's important because everyone talks now about the presumption of innocence - he is innocent. They determined that the molestation never took place," he stated.

Woody was never charged with any wrongdoing.

Mia was awarded full custody of Dylan as well as her adopted son with Woody called Moses and their biological son Ronan. Woody was denied rights to see Dylan, with Moses choosing to cut contact with his father. Ronan has always spoken out in support of Dylan.

Woody's attorney was asked whether the director has ever considered legal recourse to clear his name, but insisted Woody is not interested in suing for defamation.

"He was determined not to have molested his daughter 20 years ago. The case is over. There is no case. The fact that it is being brought up now is suspect. The timing is suspect," the lawyer stated.

He was asked to elaborate on the statement and suggested Mia is still "angry" at her ex-husband and has a "desire to hurt him".

Woody and Mia's marriage broke down due to his relationship with Soon-Yi, who is Mia's adopted daughter with her ex-husband André Previn. Woody and Soon-Yi married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters together.

Elkan went to pains to point out Woody was never Soon-Yi's father, something he believes many people remain misinformed about.

"Woody Allen is now riding fairly high. He got the Golden Globe Award for lifetime achievement, which he totally deserved. And I believe it revived the anger that she has toward him," he said, when pressed on his comments about Mia.

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