A white Californian “mother influencer” who said a Latin American couple tried to abduct her children was charged after police said they made up the story.
Sonoma’s Katie Sorensen was charged Thursday with two counts of misrepresentation, Sonoma County District Attorney said. Authorities say one was sent to a police dispatcher and the other to an officer.
For each charge, Sorensen faces up to six months in prison.
It was unclear on Tuesday whether she had received a lawyer, and Sorensen could not reach the phone numbers listed for her.
In December, she posted a video on social media alleging that a man and a woman had tried to abduct her two children in the parking lot of a Michaels craft store in Petaluma, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.
Sorensen reported the fabricated incident to police, which sparked an attempt to investigate the abduction.
Petaluma police released a photo of a man and woman, but cleared the couple after talking to them. In a December statement, police said that “the investigation has not provided evidence or witnesses confirming the account provided by the reporting party”
“The evidence gathered supported the account provided by the couple from the store,” police said.
In a video on social media, Sorensen said a man parked in the back of Michaels’ plot approached her as she was placing her children in a double stroller.
She said the man looked “for a while” and got in his car, but then followed her to the store. In the video, Sorensen said the man was accompanied by a woman and given “heebie-jeebies.”
“I didn’t feel good, but I thought I was appreciating a book on its cover. They weren’t nice, that sounds bad, but they weren’t pure personalities,” she said.
Sorensen, who describes herself on social media as “mother influencer, “continued to claim that the couple commented on what her children looked like as they followed her. She said she did not say anything to the couple because she was” paralyzed by fear. “
In the video, Sorensen said she had finished shopping, paid for the items and started walking to her car when she noticed that the couple was still following her. At one point, she described the man walking toward her car and taking “two steps forward toward the stroller” before taking “two steps back.”
She claims the couple left after she called for help.
The couple was identified by local media as Sadie and Eddie Martinez. According to Petaluma Argus-Courier, they denied the allegations at a December press conference and said they had been to Michaels to buy Christmas decorations.
The couple said they believed Sorensen’s false allegations were racially motivated.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s like we’re literally guilty of being brown while shopping,” said Sadie Martinez.
“I don’t know if anyone has paid attention in the last four years, but there is a lot of racism and, well, Katie’s subsequent costume,” she continued. “Am I shocked? No. But will we stand up for that? Hell no. “
Sadie Martinez said Thursday she was happy Sorensen was charged. “It’s a good step towards justice. It gives you hope, “she said.
Daryl Maureen, of the Forward Latino group in Wisconsin, called on social media sites to remove Sorensen’s video and replace it with a message claiming that her allegations were untrue.
“It was not an accidental act. It was something that was calculated and organized to create, we believe, fear in the community, to create more division and to encourage hatred,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “When we see someone deliberately making these racist accusations in order to advertise, it can have catastrophic consequences for members of our community.”