Mom of babysitter in Michael K scandal dies

The Boston Herald


 Laura  Raposa

In a sad postscript, the mother of the teenage babysitter at the center of the Michael Kennedy sex scandal died over the weekend of what sources say were complications from her battle with alcoholism and an eating disorder. She was 51.

"All we're going to say is that she died after a long illness," said family spokeswoman Nancy Sterling.

Sources said the woman was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital from her Boston home late Friday night. She died there early Saturday morning. Her death reportedly followed several months of very serious illness.

Friends say the woman, whom the Herald has never identified because her daughter was an alleged victim, never came to grips with the fallout from the girl's involvement with Kennedy - an affair that allegedly began when the babysitter was just 14.

"She was devastated and destroyed," Mary Stuart, a friend of the mother, told Boston magazine in 1997.

In the years since the scandal became public, the babysitter's mother and father divorced and he remarried. The babysitter finished college, moved out of state to work in marketing for a spa and her mother's chronic health problems worsened.

In 1997, the Herald reported that the babysitter's mother had to be rescued from the roof of her fashionable Back Bay townhouse just weeks after she learned about her daughter and Kennedy.

The then-46-year-old woman, dressed only in a nightgown, teetered on the edge of the six-story building, ignoring her daughter's pleas to come down until she was rescued by firefighters who answered the 911 call.

Recently, sources say, the woman was upset about murder charges brought against Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, whom she knew from Alcoholics Anonymous. Skakel had defied the Kennedy family during the scandal and had tried to stop the affair.

After a 10-week investigation into allegations of statutory rape - including an interview with Skakel, who reportedly spilled everything he knew about the relationship - then-Norfolk County District Attorney Jeff Locke declined to bring charges against Kennedy, citing the babysitter's refusal to cooperate.

Kennedy died in a skiing accident in Aspen on New Year's Eve 1997.

A memorial service will be held for the babysitter's mother this morning.