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Woody Allen Can Still Be Charged for Dylan Farrow Sexual Assault

Woody Allen with step-daughter (now wife) Soon Yi Previn. Their affair led to his explosive divorce from Mia Farrow, which gave rise to child abuse charges. (Photo: Getty)

Woody Allen with step-daughter (now wife) Soon Yi Previn. Their affair led to his explosive divorce from Mia Farrow, which gave rise to child abuse charges. (Photo: Getty)

Woody Allen, the celebrated film-maker, can still face criminal prosecution for allegedly sexually assaulting his step-daughter Dylan Farrow, even though the crimes occurred more than 20 years ago, according to legal sources.

Investigations into the allegations were sparked in New York and Connecticut. But eventually both were dropped.

Now that Dylan has come to grips with the abuse and can clearly articulate what happened to her, she could provide crucial testimony establishing “probable cause” for Allen’s renewed prosecution.

Her haunting first-person account of her sexual abuse at the hands of Allen, published today in The New York Times, could conceivably lead to a new criminal investigation in either jurisdiction, according to legal sources.

The federal government could also bring criminal charges against Allen based on several statutes, including civil rights violations. The federal government has relentlessly pursued film director Roman Polanski for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.

It could do the same with Allen.

Legal case law about child sex crimes has also expanded greatly since the initial investigations and could bolster Dylan’s case.

The allegations exploded publicly during a 1993 custody battle, when then-wife Mia Farrow testified that Dylan had told her the preceding summer that Allen had sexually molested her, according to reports.

Farrow revealed that she had videotaped her daughter’s account to preserve a record. Farrow also testified that when Allen came to visit, Dylan would scream: “Hide me! Hide me!”

Farrow conceded, however, that Dylan was unable to talk about the instances of abuse with doctors. By the time she was examined, she also showed no signs of molestation, according to court records.

A doctor who headed the Connecticut investigation later testified that Dylan’s story had “a rehearsed quality” and questioned whether Farrow might have encouraged the child to lie.

In the end, then-Connecticut State’s Attorney Frank Maco announced that he had “probable cause” to prosecute Allen, but had decided to drop the case to spare Dylan the trauma of being cross-examined in court.

Even so, the judge in the custody hearing called Allen’s behavior toward Dylan “grossly inappropriate” and initially rejected visitation rights.

The judge also berated the findings of the Yale New Haven Hospital medical team that examined Dylan as part of the investigation.

Because the case was dismissed “without prejudice,” Connecticut prosecutors can still charge Allen with first-degree child sexual assault. The charge is considered a “Class A” felony, for which there is no statute of limitations.

Any lesser charge, however would be barred. Prosecution of second-degree charges are limited to 30 years after the crime is committed, or five years after it’s first reported, whichever is earlier.

New York state prosecutors began their own investigation into Farrow’s allegations at around the same time. But the outcome was far different.

In Oct. 1993, the New York State Department of Social Services concluded that “no credible evidence was found” that Dylan had been “abused or maltreated.”

Based on the finding, it dropped its investigation. Allen, who has always vehemently denied the charges was officially off the hook.

In New York State, prosecution for second degree sexual assault against a child under the age of 18 is barred five years after the child turns 18, or five years after the offense is reported, whichever comes first.

But, like Connecticut, “Class A” felonies, which include first degree child sex assault, have no statute of limitations, according to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, which tracks sex crimes.

Now, more than 20 years after the explosive case was first decided, Dylan has finally been able to give her side of the story in gut-wrenching detail.

Allen may have reason to sweat again.

For a detailed account of the allegations and divorce battle go here, and be sure to follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest developments in this case.


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