Re "The Woody Allen case," Opinion, Feb. 16
No one but Woody Allen himself can say unequivocally whether he sexually assaulted his daughter Dylan Farrow. Personally, I find Farrow's detailed narrative compelling, but I also find the timing of the initial accusations problematic.
Regardless, Allen was either clueless or completely uncaring regarding the effect his affair with ex-partner Mia Farrow's daughter Soon Yi would have on Mia and her family, and that I cannot reconcile with Wallace Shawn's depiction of Allen as "extraordinary and even inspiring in his thoughtfulness, seriousness and honesty."
Allen is brilliant and knows what to say to impress people; that's why his films are so amazing. But that doesn't necessarily translate to mean he's a person of integrity. A mensch would know better than to cause such suffering for his own selfish desires.
Shawn gives us his opinion and excellent advice on how not to jump to conclusions in this serious and sickening case.
There are angry and bitter divorcees who will go to great lengths to destroy their ex-spouses' lives. There have been children who have been coached and taught to say things about one of their "bad" parents. Therefore, to say Allen committed the lowest, most despicable crime is tragic. Even if he is cleared, the stain will follow him forever.
Allen has brought much joy into my life with his brilliant films, which should be his legacy. I hope that proof of his innocence will be found.
As a former social worker investigating child abuse, I wish to point out to Shawn and others who question accusations of sexual abuse that the men involved (and it is very rarely women) never acknowledge the abuse or take responsibility for it.
The pervasive sexist opinion some men have that women belong to male family members and are therefore available to them for their pleasure has been and remains the cause of a form of slavery for women worldwide.
It is also very common for these abusers to tell their young victims that no one will believe their accusations or that their mothers will be punished if they tell.
We had instances of foster care dads who were upstanding members of the community and were active in their churches or charitable organizations but who raped a female foster child.
There is no poster dad of the sexual molester.
I was astonished to read Shawn write that it would take "overwhelming evidence to convince me that Desmond Tutu, Franklin D. Roosevelt or Doris Lessing had sexually abused a child." Who has ever accused them of sexually abusing a child?
Farrow has accused her mother's former partner of sexual abuse, and a state attorney in Connecticut also found probable cause but decided in 1993 not to prosecute Allen, which Shawn doesn't address.
I hope that Allen finds other people who can do a more capable job of defending him than Shawn.
Lisa Ericsson Murphy