Steph (zimraphel) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Casey Pascal, Mia Farrow's childhood friend, speaks out on Woody Allen abuse case

The woman who was the whistleblower over shocking claims that Woody Allen abused his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow today describes the star’s extraordinary ‘obsession’ with the little girl. Casey Pascal raised the alarm after her babysitter claimed to see the Oscar-winning director with his head in his seven-year-old daughter’s lap.

And today she speaks out following a torrid month in which Dylan, now 28, published full details of Allen’s alleged abuse - which was swiftly followed by a furious denial from the star. Mother-of-three Casey, who has been close friends with Mia Farrow since childhood, enjoyed lazy summer days in Connecticut with the actress and her brood - but claims she felt so uncomfortable around Allen that she would never have left her own children alone with him.

Indeed, she says Mia always told babysitters NEVER to leave Dylan and Woody alone together – as the star was at the time in treatment with a child psychologist for his ‘inappropriate behaviour’ with the little girl.

And in her first-ever length interview, Casey tells MailOnline how Mia is ‘suffering terribly’ and is ‘horrified’ that the allegations, first made more than 20 years ago, have now reared up yet again. The actress is also ‘extraordinarily distressed’ that her adopted son Moses has chosen to cut her out of his life and resume a relationship with Allen - while insisting all the while that his sister has made up the claims that have prompted her adoptive father to allege she is a fantasist.

However, Casey - who shares never-seen before pictures of Mia, Allen and the children - says: ‘Dylan decided she had not been heard and this is her hurt. She’s an adult and Mia of course supports and loves her. Mia would do anything for the sake of her children.’

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow celebrate daughter Dylan's birthday (next to Allen) - believed to be either her sixth or seventh birthday - in Connecticut - watched on by Mia's brood of children and close friend Casey Pascal (right)

Her comments come as a close family friend tells MailOnline: ‘The family didn’t instigate Dylan speaking out, in fact they really wrestled with whether it was the right thing to do. On some levels, they are annoyed – but they also understand, somewhat grudgingly, that it’s the right and brave thing to do.’ And the friend freely admits Dylan was spurred on to speak out after Allen was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes last month and given a gushing tribute by long-time pal and co-star Diane Keaton, adding: ‘She was curled up in a ball watching her tormenter be celebrated. It’s not her hidden agenda – it’s her stated agenda.'

Allen’s latest movie, Blue Jasmine, has been nominated for three Oscars and the friend said: ‘It was triggered by Hollywood rallying around him during this awards season.’

It was in full glare of summer, on Tuesday, August 4, 1992, that Casey, now 70, left her children John, Emma and Katherine, with Mia’s children in the care of three nannies while they went shopping locally. She had known Mia since their schooldays at a British boarding school in Kingston-upon-Thames and had spent days in the garden of the Connecticut estate with a nervous Allen, who, she said, wore a hat that looked like he was going on safari - and hated the country so much that to appease him, Mia had put special glasses for him in the freezer and had to install a new shower ‘because he was afraid he was going to go down the drain!’ Mere months had passed since Mia had discovered a set of exceedingly graphic nude Polaroid photos of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, barely hidden on Woody’s mantelpiece, who was at the time was believed to be either 19 or 21.

But for the sake of the children, Mia allowed Woody to stay in contact with his son Satchel – now known as Ronan – whose paternity has since been brought into doubt – and his adopted daughter Dylan. However, there remained an ‘atmosphere of hurt’ in the house. And she suggested the shopping trip purely, she says, because Allen was on his way over to the Bridgewater home Mia had bought, named Frog Hollow. It was while they were out that Casey’s babysitter Alison Strickland walked in on a scene in the TV room that left her reeling. Little Dylan was sitting on the sofa, while kneeling before her, with his head in her lap was Woody Allen. Alison would later give testimony in a 1993 court battle, saying Dylan had been ‘sitting on the couch staring vacantly in the direction of a television set’.

Casey recalls: ‘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.’ It was not until later that day, Casey says, that: ‘Alison came to me and said there was something I should know, she said it was the kind of situation where if she had walked in on grown-ups she would have said ‘sorry’ - then she realised there was a very small child involved and she was horrified.

‘I had to call Mia and it was so horrific – I set the wheels in motion. Calling Alison ‘above reproach’, Casey says, ‘there was never a question of not believing her, she had worked for me since my children were babies’.

It was a significant tipping point as Woody’s relationship with Dylan had become so intense he had sought treatment for his ‘inappropriate behaviour’ with the little girl, according to Casey. ‘It was an on-going concern,’ Casey says: ‘People were concerned about Woody’s behaviour with Dylan. His intensity with the child... he didn’t seem to leave her alone for a second. He was obsessed with the child. Mia had mentioned it to him and he was seeing someone.

‘I saw it from the perspective that the children would be involved in a game and he would come and scoop her up and take her away, it was not anything you would consider normal.

‘Mia always told baby sitters never to leave them alone, the child seemed to have no space for herself, he overpowered her. She would be going off into her mind in a different space, she would tune out. We knew it was too intense for a little girl.

‘I would just take my children home when Woody arrived as there was no more playing with Dylan when he arrived.’ Pausing, Casey adds: ‘It was such a one-sided relationship. He was gushing attentively over a little child who just wanted to be someplace else.’

And in a telling statement, she said: ‘I would never have left my children with him.’

Casey’s phone call to Mia would spark the mother-of-14 to videotape Dylan, who would go on to claim that her adoptive father had molested her in the attic of the house. It later transpired that Farrow family’s nanny Kristie Groteke, who had been left with clear instructions not to leave Allen alone with Dylan, had not been able to find them for about 15-20 minutes on the same afternoon the star had been seen with his head in his daughter’s lap.

In open letter in the New York Times earlier this month, Dylan wrote: ‘He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we'd go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies.'

She went on to describe how the award-winning director of 'Annie Hall' and 'Manhattan' would always find a way to touch her and do things to her she did not like, including sticking his thumb in her mouth, forcing her to get into bed with him and placing his head in her naked lap.

'I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different,' she said. Allen, 78, has always denied the allegations of sexual abuse against Dylan. He was never charged with, or convicted of, a crime in this case.

The allegations led to four court battles – a lawsuit, a disciplinary charge against the prosecutor, and two appeals—and Allen 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 Mia 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.”

Indeed, in his his 33-page decision, Judge Wilk found that 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.”

If Casey feels passionately about supporting her friend Mia, it’s only because she has been by her side after she discovered the pictures of Soon-Yi – saying ‘it was shattering’.

'She found the pictures on the mantle in his apartment, he hadn’t even put them away – it was such a public place. The next day she showed me where she had found them and anyone could have seen them,' she said.

And dismissing Allen’s claims he had never been close to Soon-Yi before they embarked on an affair, Casey says: ‘He WAS close to her, he chose to say that. They went on vacations to Europe, she was there, she was one of the children.'

Bizarrely, Casey tells how that summer of 1992 Allen tried desperately to win back Mia, his lover of 12 years. ‘He went out of his way to tell her it was all over, he was trying to get her back. Soon-Yi was working at this summer camp and we hear this camp has had to let her go as this man kept calling her – it was Woody,’ she said. ‘And this was when he was trying to tell Mia it was a thing of the past. It was a whole nasty situation and Woody thought everything should go on as normal, no-one would ever know. Soon-Yi was very vulnerable, she’d never had boyfriends, my feeling is things could not have happened overnight.’

Casey had also watched as Allen failed to bond with his son Ronan, adding ‘he didn’t seem to express any warm feelings for the child, because he wasn’t a girl’.

She even recounted a moment when once, by mistake, a young Ronan stuck his finger into Dylan’s eye and Allen shrieked at him ‘how could you do this!’, adding: ‘One time, we were at the hospital when Mia was having a biopsy for a breast cyst , Woody was there with his assistant and never once came near the baby. He didn’t want to hold the baby.’

Hitting back as these allegations have re-surfaced, Allen insisted in an op-ed in the New York Times at the weekend that he had no doubt that Dylan believed she had been molested – but added: ‘...if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root?’

He reiterated that it was part of Mia’s attempt for revenge after he started an affair with Soon-Yi – who he has now been married to for 16 years and with whom he has two adopted daughters, claiming she told his sister Letty: ‘He took my daughter, now I’ll take his’.

Dylan Farrow responded by highlighting a court report that denied Allen access to his daughter in 1992. 'With all the attempts to misrepresent the facts, it is important to be reminded of the truth contained in court documents from the only final ruling in this case,' she wrote.

Farrow claimed the court 'debunked the "experts" my father claims exonerated him'. She said the court found 'no credible evidence to support Mr Allen's contention that Ms [Mia] Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge.'

The court concluded that the evidence 'proves that Mr Allen's behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate'.

Dylan Farrow added: 'If speaking out about my experience can help others stand up to their tormentors, it will be worth the pain and suffering my father continues to inflict on me... I won't let the truth be buried and I won't be silenced.

Writing about Dylan, he said: ‘Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being.

‘Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us.’

However, Casey insists: ‘Mia didn’t place memories in Dylan’s head. We had these video cameras and she was always filming the children, asking them ‘what do you want to be when you grow up? ‘Are you enjoying the summer?’ She turned on the camera so Dylan wouldn’t have to keep repeating herself. She took her to the doctor the same day I called her. There was no vindictiveness, just shock and horror. The custody battle didn’t happen until much later.’

Mia remains devastated after being cut out by Moses, as Casey says: ‘He underwent some sort of personality change... he had a very difficult relationship with his wife and it’s inexplicable, it’s just a mystery to everyone.

As for Allen, she says: ‘He thinks he’s inscrutable, he seems to know no bounds in pleasing himself and never seemed to realise the impact he had on this family. Mia doesn’t feel sorry for herself, she’s just a mother trying to protect her children. She’s horrified – the whole thing has been such a nightmare and to have it rear up again is very hurtful .’

Today, Dylan is happily married and an artist and writer living in Florida, but her childhood was fraught as Casey recalls a ‘nervous and fragile’ child, who ‘didn’t handle stress well... she’s come such a long way and she’s really done an amazing job of getting through this.

‘But she was always afraid that Woody would appear. Mia tried to get rid of him from the family pictures, and Dylan went to college and did everything young women do, she had a wonderful joyous wedding – but this was always hanging over her head and she had to have her say.’

The family friend added: ‘Dylan’s holding up, it’s very hard for her – what he did in response to her letter was to launch an all-out assault on her credibility.

'This is a credible woman with no history of ever telling lies, no history of fabricating things, who decided on her own to go forward with this story.’

While Ronan, 26, is busy getting his new MSNBC show off the ground, the timing it must be said, could not have been worse – but the friend said: ‘While Ronan would just as soon never have this mentioned ever again – and there is zero gain for his carer in having this out here - he stands by and cares for his sister, her claims are just inescapabaly persuasive.

A bunch more pictures and gross comments at the source
Tags: scandal, woody allen

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