A Conservative Political Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Edward Kennedy Relating to His Nephew's Alleged Rape
A conservative political group filed an ethics complaint yesterday against Sen.
Edward M. Kennedy, saying that he violated Senate rules by his actions related to an investigation of a rape charge against his nephew.
The sworn complaint, which also said Kennedy had failed to assist the purported victim as she screamed outside the family's Florida home, was lodged with the Senate Ethics Committee by the Conservative Campaign Fund.
On Easter weekend 1991, Kennedy was at a get-together at the family's Palm Beach, Florida estate when, restless and maudlin after reminiscing about his brother-in-law, he left for a late-night visit to a local bar, getting his son Patrick and nephew William Kennedy Smith to accompany him. Patrick Kennedy and Smith returned with women they met there, Michelle Cassone and Patricia Bowman. Cassone said that Ted Kennedy subsequently walked in on her and Patrick, dressed only in a nightshirt and with a weird look on his face. Smith and Bowman went out on the beach, where they had sex that he said was consensual and she said was rape. The local police made a delayed investigation; soon Kennedy sources were feeding the press with negative information about Bowman's background and several mainstream newspapers broke a taboo by publishing her name. The case quickly became a media frenzy. While not directly implicated in the case, Kennedy became the frequent butt of jokes on The Tonight Show and other late-night television programs. Time magazine said Kennedy was being perceived as a "Palm Beach boozer, lout and tabloid grotesque" while Newsweek said Kennedy was "the living symbol of the family flaws."