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The influencer sentenced to prison after falsely accusing a Latino couple of trying to kidnap their children in California

June 30, 2023, 3:30 PM

June 30, 2023, 3:30 PM

motherhoodessentials_
“Katie” Sorensen introduced herself on Instagram as a influencers of motherhood.

Mounted in her car and in front of her cell phone, Kathleen Sorensen began to recount on video a situation that left her “paralyzed by fear”: the alleged attempted kidnapping of her children.

The American resident of a town north of San Francisco, California, described in detail how a “not very clean” man and woman they tried to take their two little ones in a shop.

His video, posted on Instagram at the end of 2020, reached more than 4.5 million views (before it was removed). He also gave great notoriety to what he called himself as a “influencers of maternity”.

She was invited to a local television program to tell what happened.

But Sorensen, 30, was sentenced this Thursday to 90 days in prison plus 12 months probation for having accused, “knowingly of the falsehood”, a couple of Nicaraguan origin of the alleged attempted kidnapping of their children.

“He was ordered not having a presence on social mediasubmit to warrantless searches and seizures of your electronic devices, complete a 4-hour bias training, as well as various fines and payment of fees,” the Sonoma County, California district attorney’s office reported.

Sadie Vega Martinez and her husband Eddie Martinez, the couple who was falsely accused by Sorensen, celebrated the decision.

“After she avoided accountability for years, hearing that she was found guilty and walked out in handcuffs… yes, justice was doneSadie Vega-Martinez said.

At Thursday’s hearing, Sorensen alleged that he “misinterpreted” what happened that dayat a time when she was overwhelmed by the restrictions of the covid-19 pandemic.

What happened in the store?

On December 7, 2020, Sorensen went to Michaels Craft Store in Petaluma with her two young children.

After purchasing a few items, the woman returned to her car and drove off. “Minutes later, Sorensen called the Petaluma Police Department and reported that a couple had attempted to kidnap their children,” prosecutors said Thursday.

She initially said she was not interested in pressing charges and was only looking to report the couple’s “suspicious behavior.” But neither did he give the details that he later exposed in his video.

Sorensen's Instagram account

motherhoodessentials_
Following her post, Sorensen gained thousands of followers on Instagram.

In her Instagram post a week later, Sorensen said she overheard the couple talking about the age of their children and their white complexion in the store.

Then, she continued, she was followed to the parking lot where the man allegedly “tried” to take the stroller from her. The moment left her “paralyzed by fear,” she said.

“By the absolute grace of God,” he recounted, an older man noticed something was wrong and the couple had to run to their own car to get away.

His story quickly went viral and raised an alert in Petaluma.

The local commotion led the police to expand the investigation of the case that had been closed as there were no defendants at the beginning.

They interviewed Sorensen again, who named the couple on store surveillance video “as the perpetrators,” prosecutors said Thursday.

“Sorensen’s report was determined to be false and was strongly denied by the accused couple, as well as by the store video that was obtained,” it added.

The security videos showed that neither the Nicaraguan couple nor no one approached her as he assured on Instagram.

Sadie and Eddie Martinez didn’t know about Sorensen until they saw news reports listing them as the defendants.

A view of downtown Petaluma

Getty Images
Petaluma is a town north of San Francisco.

“I misinterpreted the events”

The woman was charged with three counts, but in the end the judge in the case sentenced her only for a misdemeanor, which gives her the benefit of early release and only serving one month in jail.

“Sorensen has been held accountable for his crime and we believe that the judge has handed down a fair sentence. Our hope is that this accountability measure will help provide some closure to the couple who were falsely accused of attempting to kidnap two young children,” district attorney Carla Rodriguez said.

The woman claims she was wrong.

“My intention was to report behavior that seemed suspicious to me,” Sorensen said as he took the stand Thursday, the newspaper reported. The Sonoma Index-Tribune.

“I misinterpreted the events of that day”, assured.

He explained that at that time he was experiencing “the apprehension and restlessness” of the pandemic, which influenced his understanding of what was happening around him.

“I felt that I had failed to protect my children.”

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