Last week, I ran a column on the controversy surrounding the renewed allegations of child abuse by Woody Allen and the suggestion of the former prosecutor, Frank Maco, that he might sue Allen for defamation. The piece expressed deep skepticism over the potential for a defamation claim and further questioned Mr. Maco’s public comments after he decided not to bring charges. I was recently contacted by Mr. Maco who shared his view of the underlying facts and the suggested lawsuit. I felt, particularly in light of the criticism on this blog, his response should be run in its entirety to give his side of the story. Below is that response.
Dear Mr. Turley:
In your review of my letter of February 10, 2014–you were accurate when you stated that I was only “suggesting” legal action vs. Mr. Allen for his “unprovoked, gratuitous, unwarranted” attack upon my character. Indeed, legal action is one, but not the only, manner of addressing Allen’s assault. I’m sure following legal consultation, other avenues will also be suggested and considered. And while agreeing with me that Allen’s statement is an attack on my “character and professionalism”, you question whether such attack is actionable since I was a “public official”–operative word being was–since when Allen uttered his attack, I was no longer a “public official”, having been retired well over ten years. Now you may argue that I am still, at least, a “public figure” if not a “public official”, but that description as well as “malice” are threshold issues that you seem to conveniently gloss over. Simply, when the attack was launched one week ago (February 7, 2014, not 20 years ago) what was my “status” and what was Allen’s state of mind as to “actual malice”? These are genuine questions to be addressed and answered.
In Connecticut, the State’s Attorney has a duty, recognized under common and case law, to make a good faith preliminary determination of probable cause before applying to a judicial magistrate for issuance of an arrest warrant.
As to your complaint of my stating publicly my “probable cause” finding of twenty years ago, I refer you to my statement contained in my February 10 letter. I stated that I would only speak publicly when to do less would undermine the community’s confidence in my office, the Connecticut justice system or me. (Please see Statement of Decision September 24, 1993) But I’m sure you know that all of my words and actions were addressed in almost five years of hearings on Allen’s disciplinary complaints against me, all of which were dismissed. Again, an historical fact that you conveniently ignore. But you do cite authority (looks like an ABC entertainment story) that takes issue with my “probable cause” statement by stating that
” . . . a later disciplinary board found . . . that Maco may (emphasis mine) have prejudiced the later custody trial . . . .” First, to which disciplinary panel are you attributing this finding? Again, all complaints to disciplinary panels were dismissed and second, how could any statement of “probable cause” made by me September 24, 1993 prejudice a custody battle. The only one which I’m aware of was decided by the late New York Justice Elliott Wilk awarding custody to Ms. Farrow in June 1993. June 1993 predates September 1993. Perhaps you are referring to my March 19, 1993 informational statement addressing the Yale clinic report. I’ll certainly listen as to how you reconcile these contradictions and apologize in advance if I’m mistaken.
In conclusion, no need to inform me that your column of February 12, 2014 was an “opinion” because I’m aware of your work and I am a fan. However, please consider my observations as simply requesting some semblance of personal fairness to me by being more factually and historically accurate.
21 thoughts on “Frank Maco Responds To Criticism Over Woody Allen Case On The Blog”
funny behavior without the laughter is a bitch too. I loved Woody Allen’s neurotic persona until I understood that damaging a child made his adult neuroses less important .
I would like to answer dgda,
You don’t think Frank Maco has a case? Says you. He has gone on public record publicly defaming him and spreading slanderous lies.
That is ground for a legal suit.
Here is another interesting rub, it turns out that Woody can be sued for Kidnapping ! What he is accused of is classified as a Class A felony.
With the sworn testimony of Groteke who searched for Dylan and did not find her with the rest of the kids. Dylan was missing for 15-20 minutes!
Dylan was again missing another time:
‘We took Mia’s baby son Isaiah out with us and went to the store and while we were gone Alison went looking for John and opened a door to a little den off the kitchen and found Woody with his head in Dylan’s lap.
‘We came back, not knowing anything about this, we noticed Dylan didn’t have any underwear on and Mia asked one of the girls to help her get some pants on.’-Casey Pascal
“A former Connecticut prosecutor says the act of taking a minor to a secluded area for a sexual assault constitutes Class A felony kidnapping – a charge famed actor-director Woody Allen could still potentially face.
“The act of taking the minor victim to the attic for the purpose of committing a sexual assault would be a kidnapping in the first degree for which there is no statute of limitations,” attorney Proloy K. Das, a former state appellate prosecutor now with the Hartford firm Rome McGuigan, told the New Haven Register Monday.”
Sue Maco please sue! Karma is a real _____.
@ebblos – Maco is a public figure which raises the level for libel and slander. Add to that that libel or slander trials by public figures in this country are notoriously unsuccessful and I do not think he has a snowball’s chance in hell. Just as Mr. Allen has no case against Mr. Das, which is why Mr. Das is so willing to speak out.
This has nothing to do with the merits of the case for or against Mr. Allen.
Never cared for Allen….. But… Not to state that he’s not good at what he does…. Maco may have a point….. I guess this is one for the judiciary to figure out….. Enough already….
I’m not a lawyer, but let me ask you this, whether a public official, or public figure:
Greta Garbo wanted to be left alone, and stopped acting. Did that make her any less of a public figure? Once a public figure, always a public figure.
O.J. Simpson no longer plays football or acts, but does that make him any less of a public figure?
Archibald Cox, after being fired, did he stop being a public figure? He may not have been a public official, but always remained a public figure.
When a public official, elected or appointed leaves office, are they still a public official and figure? Former Gov. William Weld is still referred to as Gov. Weld when interviewed, as are former presidents. That’s because they are, and shall forever remain in the public domain as both public officials and figures.
While Mr. Maco writes an intelligent response, just because you’re not in your current position, in my opinion, that doesn’t make you any less of a public figure or official, and my understanding of law is that public officials and figures are held to a higher standard under the law.
Rather than going the usual legal route of a lawsuit, why doesn’t Mr. Maco just bite his tongue, and consider the source, and ask: is it really worth it? Allen should be judged in a court of law. That’s what our country is about.
Between him and Mia Farrow, I see no winners, just a family where both parents appear to have manipulated their children.
Overall, very sad.
I’m glad Mr. Maco provided his perspective, however I disagree that the notion he is now retired doesn’t matter since the comments refer to his tenure as a prosecutor, a public figure.
He’s the star of bananas
I find Woody Allen movies all snoozers. His grossly inappropriate behavior with Dylan and the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow sends up red flags all over the place. A couple of his movies concern themselves with love affairs with underage girls. I wonder about the well being of his two adopted daughters with Soon Yi. I hope we won’t be hearing from them also in ten years.
Elaine, I read the statement from the court re: Allen’s attempt to get custody. The link was posted a couple of times in the previous thread. The points that you list are each in that court report. I saw only one of his films several years ago. Not sure that I saw all of it. I think I kept falling asleep and finally gave up. Haven’t been interested in anything that he’s done since except marry Dylan’s sister. Wonder how she’s making out?
Civility on both sides, and a judicial approach from Mr. Turley. A rarity on the internets.
Maco should start his own bloggy.
“Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.” – Claud Cockburn
I haven’t seen a Woody Allen film in many years.
Have you read this article?
10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation
By Maureen Orth
This week, a number of commentators have published articles containing incorrect and irresponsible claims regarding the allegation of Woody Allen’s having sexually abused his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. As the author of two lengthy, heavily researched and thoroughly fact-checked articles that deal with that allegation—the first published in 1992, when Dylan was seven, and the second last fall, when she was 28—I feel obliged to set the record straight. As such, I have compiled the following list of undeniable facts:
1. Mia never went to the police about the allegation of sexual abuse. Her lawyer told her on August 5, 1992, to take the seven-year-old Dylan to a pediatrician, who was bound by law to report Dylan’s story of sexual violation to law enforcement and did so on August 6.
2. Allen had been in therapy for alleged inappropriate behavior toward Dylan with a child psychologist before the abuse allegation was presented to the authorities or made public. Mia Farrow had instructed her babysitters that Allen was never to be left alone with Dylan.
3. Allen refused to take a polygraph administered by the Connecticut state police. Instead, he took one from someone hired by his legal team. The Connecticut state police refused to accept the test as evidence. The state attorney, Frank Maco, says that Mia was never asked to take a lie-detector test during the investigation.
4. Allen subsequently lost four exhaustive court battles—a lawsuit, a disciplinary charge against the prosecutor, and two appeals—and was made to pay more than $1 million in Mia’s legal fees. Judge Elliott Wilk, the presiding judge in Allen’s custody suit against Farrow, concluded that there is “no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.”
5. In his 33-page decision, Judge Wilk found that Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was “grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.” The judge also recounts Farrow’s misgivings regarding Allen’s behavior toward Dylan from the time she was between two and three years old. According to the judge’s decision, Farrow told Allen, “You look at her [Dylan] in a sexual way. You fondled her . . . You don’t give her any breathing room. You look at her when she’s naked.”
I believed Dylan then, I believe her now. It’s too bad Allen wasn’t charged.
Maco’s a “big boy” and can take care of himself. Allen, well, a “big boy” he ain’t.
The real outrage here is this prosecutor and judge claim that the professional investigation that said definitively that no molestation happened was somehow flawed – AND THEN DID NO FURTHER INVESTIGATION! How could anyone including Farrow and the current lynch mob who honestly believe Allen is a child molester take no further action!? We know real child molesters don’t just do it once, so how is it possible no further investigation was done to find other victims?
I remember this all when it happened originally, and it just seemed like officials trying to placate a public outraged over Allen’s selfish choice of a relationship with a much younger woman over what was best for his own children.
The reason the media coverage of this affair outrages me so much is first they made it seem like this high profile case was never investigated, very damaging to real victims already afraid to come forward. And most importantly we have to stop ignoring the fact that serious psychological damage is done to children used in this way as weapons in custody battles.
If studies are true that the vast majority of molestation accusations made after a custody battle starts are false, this issue needs much more attention to prevent more children from being psychologically damaged in this way.
I detect a hint of sarcasm in Mr. Maco’s letter. I would submit that he was still a public figure and his letter to Professor Turley and the printing of his response adds to his public figure status. Not to mention the 5 years of disciplinary hearings that he disclosed. I would also guess that Mr. Maco has not met with his counsel yet as he thinks sending emails to other public figures will help his potential lawsuit.
Thanks for giving Maco the space to respond.
I’d like to suggest the preponderance of the evidence I have seen demonstrates to me his conduct in the Allen case was wrong headed, reprehensible, unethical and significantly aided and abetted Mia Farrow’s child abuse of Dylan and her siblings, but time being what it is, and Maco’s advanced age leaves me unwilling to suggest we contribute to a public lynch mob.
I lost at fee dispute against a lawyer, well I didn’t because they awarded me additional fees returned from the attorney but found “for the attorney”.
Seems to me that this could (could) be the case here when he writes ” a later disciplinary board found . . . that Maco may (emphasis mine) have prejudiced the later custody trial . . . .” First, to which disciplinary panel are you attributing this finding? Again, all complaints to disciplinary panels were dismissed
Dismissal does not mean they did not make the finding.
Civility on both sides, and a judicial approach from Mr. Turley. A rarity on the internets.
To my mind (opinion) Mr. Marco does not have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding against Mr. Allen. He was a public officer when his actions occurred and the comments of Mr. Allen are regarding those actions, not his actions now. Using the logic of Mr. Marco, if a public official committed a crime in office, once the official retired, he would no longer be at risk for prosecution for the crime. In fact, prosecutors would be liable for sanctions for even going after the former public official.
I cannot think of other actions against Mr. Allen so I am left with Mr. Marco calling him out for a little mano o mano.
money…it’s a bitch
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