Edward Kennedy's Nephew, William Kennedy Smith, is Accused of Rape After Attending Night Club with His Uncle
In 1991, Smith was tried and acquitted on a charge of rape.
He was represented by prominent Miami-based criminal defense attorney Roy Black. The trial attracted extensive media coverage because of the prominence of the Kennedy family.
The incident began on the evening of Good Friday, March 29, 1991, when Smith, then 30 years old, was in a bar (named Au Bar) in Palm Beach, Florida with his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, and his cousin Patrick Kennedy. Smith met 29-year-old Patricia Bowman. Patrick became acquainted with Michelle Cassone, another young woman at the bar. The four then went to a nearby house owned by the Kennedy family. Smith and Bowman walked along the beach. She alleged that Smith raped her; Smith testified that the sex was consensual. Although three women were willing to testify that Smith had sexually assaulted them in incidents in the 1980s not reported to the police, their testimony was excluded. Smith was acquitted of all charges.
Around 11:30, [Ted Kennedy] asked Patrick and Willy Smith to go out for a drink. The three drove to Au Bar, a hip nightclub known as a pickup spot for older men seeking younger women. It was not the first time a group of Kennedy men had visited Au Bar in the wee hours.
At the club they met several locals, among them Patricia Bowman, a 29-year old single mother, and Michelle Cassone, a Palm Beach waitress. Both women made their way back to the estate around 3:30 a.m. Cassone said she and Patrick were "cuddling" in a bedroom when the senator walked in wearing only a nightshirt. Disturbed by his appearance, Cassone left the house.
Bowman and Smith walked to the beach. According to Bowman, Smith then forced himself upon her sexually. Back inside the house, he denied raping her and allegedly told Bowman that no one would believe her, anyway.