William Kennedy Smith

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William Kennedy Smith
Commissioner of the District of Columbia from district 2A04
In office
January 2, 2015 – August 30, 2020
Preceded byArmando Irizarry
Succeeded byDonna Feigley Barbisch
Personal details
Born (1960-09-04) September 4, 1960 (age 63)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Anne Henry
(m. 2011)
Parent(s)Stephen Edward Smith
Jean Ann Kennedy
Alma materDuke University
Georgetown University School of Medicine (M.D.)

William Kennedy Smith (born September 4, 1960) is an American physician and a member of the Kennedy family who founded an organization focused on land mines and the rehabilitation of landmine victims. He is known for being charged with rape in a nationally publicized 1991 trial that ended with his acquittal.

Early life, family, and education[edit]

Born at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, William Kennedy Smith is the younger son of Stephen Edward Smith and Jean Kennedy Smith.[1] His mother was the youngest daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. He is a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, Senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy. Smith has an elder brother, Stephen Edward Smith Jr., and two adopted sisters, Kym and Amanda Smith.[2]

He attended boarding school at Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University; completed premedical post-baccalaureate studies at Bryn Mawr College; and, in 1991,[3] received his M.D. degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Smith married Anne Henry, an arts fundraising consultant, on May 12, 2011, at Tilghman Island, Maryland.[3][5] They have two children, India (born 2012) and Stephen (born 2013).[6]

Legal accusations[edit]

1991 sexual assault charge[edit]

In 1991, Smith was tried and acquitted on a charge of rape, represented by Miami-based criminal defense attorney Roy Black in a trial that attracted extensive media coverage.[7]

The incident began on the evening of Good Friday, March 29, 1991, when Smith, then 30 years old, was in a bar (named Au Bar) in Palm Beach, Florida, with his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, and his cousin Patrick J. Kennedy. There, Smith met Patricia Bowman,[8][9][10] a 29-year-old woman and another young woman at the bar. According to a police affidavit by investigating police officers who interviewed Bowman, Smith asked for a ride back to a nearby house owned by the Kennedy family. Smith and Bowman then walked along the beach.[11] Bowman told police that Smith then violently raped her. At about 4:00 am, she called two friends who retrieved her from the Kennedy compound and took her first to their home and then to her own home, where Bowman called a rape crisis center.

A few hours later, she reported the incident to the police and was taken to a hospital for a rape kit examination, which documented semen in her vagina, complaints of severe pain, and bruising. At trial, Smith said that he and Bowman had engaged in sex, but it had been consensual. Although three women, including a law student and a medical student, were willing to testify that Smith had sexually assaulted them in incidents in the 1980s that were not reported to the police, their testimony was excluded on the grounds that the pattern of behavior reported was not similar enough in its details to the Bowman case.[12]

When Bowman testified, her face was hidden by a large dot, but she chose to go public with her identity later.[13] Smith was acquitted of all charges.[8][9][10] It took the jury less than 75 minutes to reach a not guilty verdict.

2004 lawsuit[edit]

In 2004, a former employee of the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) alleged that Smith had sexually assaulted her in 1999, and sued him.[14] Smith denied her charges, calling them "outrageous" and saying that "family and personal history have made me unusually vulnerable to these kinds of charges".[15] Smith later resigned from the CIR.[16]

A spokesman for the organization later acknowledged that two separate federal sexual harassment claims against Smith, by former female employees of CIR, had been "settled amicably."[17][18] On January 5, 2005, the court dismissed the employee's lawsuit.[19]

Career and community involvement[edit]

Smith is the founder of Physicians Against Land Mines, a Chicago-based organization that advocates for an end to the use of land mines and assists persons injured by land mines.[20] He also founded the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) in 1996.[21] As of 2001, Smith was an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University Medical School and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.[20]

Smith considered running for Congress in the 2002 elections in Illinois, but decided against it.[22]

As of 2011, Smith worked at MedRed, a Washington-based medical communications technology firm.[23]

In 2014, Smith was elected to the Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington D.C.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "William Kennedy Smith: The Accused in Alleged Palm Beach Rape". Associated Press.
  2. ^ [1] Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Newell, Becca (15 May 2011). "Making a home in Tilghman". The Star Democrat.
  4. ^ "William Kennedy Smith: Biography". Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  5. ^ Vozzella, Laura (9 May 2011). "William Kennedy Smith weds on Tilghman Island". The Sun. Baltimore.
  6. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (December 9, 2014). "William Kennedy Smith keeps his focus on improving D.C. and away from '91 rape trial". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Margolick, David (12 December 1991). "Smith Acquitted of Rape Charge After Brief Deliberation by Jury". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  8. ^ a b Richter, Paul (December 20, 1991). "Smith's Accuser Goes on TV to Defend Herself : Interview: Patricia Bowman says she wants her identity known in order to help rape victims and to fight claims she is psychologically troubled.". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ a b Dunne, Dominick (September 15, 2008). "The Verdict". Vanity Fair.
  10. ^ a b Schwartzman, Paul (December 9, 2014). "William Kennedy Smith keeps his focus on improving D.C. and away from ’91 rape trial". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Prosecutor in Palm Beach Rape Case Releases Police Affidavit with AM-Kennedy-Assault, BJT". Associated Press.
  12. ^ David Margolick (1991-12-13). "Why Jury in Smith Case Never Heard From 3 Other Women". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2022-06-13.
  13. ^ "William Kennedy Smith's rape trial begins". history.com. November 13, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "Kennedy Smith Faces Assault Suit". Los Angeles Times. August 27, 2004. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012.
  15. ^ Grace, Francie (January 5, 2005). "Kennedy Smith Sex Case Dismissed: His Lawyer Says He's Been Vindicated After False Allegations". CBS News. Archived from the original on September 6, 2009.
  16. ^ "National Briefing | Midwest: Illinois: Kennedy Relative Resigns In Wake Of Suit (Published 2004)". The New York Times. 31 August 2004. Archived from the original on 2023-07-29.
  17. ^ Bebow, John (January 5, 2005). "Suit against JFK nephew is dismissed". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 2, 2022.
  18. ^ "Smith quits job to fight lawsuit". Chicago Tribune.
  19. ^ "Judge dismisses Kennedy Smith lawsuit: Former personal assistant had alleged he sexually assaulted her". NBC News. January 4, 2005.
  20. ^ a b "William Kennedy Smith considers running for Congress in Illinois".
  21. ^ "Allegations have effect not only on Smith". Chicago Tribune. 29 August 2004.
  22. ^ "Paper: Kennedy Won't Run for House". Associated Press.
  23. ^ "William Kennedy Smith weds on Tilghman Island".
  24. ^ Paul Schwartzman (December 9, 2014). "William Kennedy Smith keeps his focus on improving D.C. and away from '91 rape trial". The Washington Post.

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