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Kennedy Smith Faces Assault Suit

August 27, 2004|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — A woman who has sued William Kennedy Smith said Thursday that the member of the prominent political family sexually assaulted her five years ago.

"Today I am putting William Kennedy Smith on notice. You will not victimize another woman and be able to keep it silent if I can help it," Audra Soulias, 28, said at a news conference.

Smith denies the allegations and claims the woman filed the lawsuit after he refused to pay her $3 million. The 43-year-old Kennedy cousin said his "family and personal history have made me unusually vulnerable to these kinds of charges," and he called the accusations "outrageous, untrue and without merit."

Soulias said the power and money held by Smith's family was what kept her silent for five years, although her lawyer acknowledged that the woman had consensual sex with Smith several times after the encounter. The lawyer said such behavior was typical in cases of "acquaintance rape."

In 1991 a jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., acquitted Smith of sexual assault and battery on a woman he met in a nightclub.

Smith's mother is former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith. He is the nephew of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

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