The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday, June 29, that Judge Laura Passaglia sentenced Kathleen Sorensen to serve 90 days, 60 of which could be served on a work-release program. A jury previously convicted Sorensen of one count of making a false report of a crime in April.
On Dec. 7, 2020, the District Attorney’s Office said Sorensen went to a Michael’s craft store with her two young children, bought a few items, and went back to her car before driving away. She reportedly called the Petaluma Police Department moments later and reported that a couple, who she identified as Sadie and Eddie Martinez, tried to kidnap her children at the store.
Sorensen said the couple made "comments concerning the children’s appearance as they walked behind her." She also reportedly told police the couple followed her to her car, "loitered suspiciously, and then left when noticed by another individual nearby."
Sorensen told police she didn’t want the couple arrested and that she "only wanted to raise awareness of the suspicious behavior."
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Sorensen created an Instagram video a week later and included details about the incident that she did not disclose to police. The video went viral, and Sorensen also appeared on local news outlets.
In the video, Sorensen reportedly said the male who followed her around the store and to her car tried to grab her stroller, but she did not share this detail with police. Police noted that the allegation would constitute an attempted child abduction if true.
Police obtained video footage and interviewed Sorensen again. She reportedly asserted that "the couple approached her children’s stroller and that the male reached for it; she stated she would testify to that fact and that she wanted the couple prosecuted."
Police were unable to find any evidence or witnesses who corroborated the account, and the investigation was closed.
In addition to her jail time, Sorensen will have to serve 12 months of probation, which bans her from using social media. She will also have to complete implicit bias training and pay various fines and fees.
Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said in a statement, "Our hope is that this measure of accountability will help provide some closure to the couple that was falsely accused of having attempted to kidnap two young children."