A mom influencer from California has been charged with one count of “making a false report of a crime” after she wrongly claimed that a Latino couple attempted to kidnap her children.
Kathleen “Katie” Sorensen will spend 90 days in jail for her fake kidnapping story that went viral in December 2020.
According to NBC News, the 31-year-old detailed in a now-deleted video that she noticed a man and a woman following her and her children while they were shopping at an art supply store.
“I definitely felt the heebie-jeebies," she said. "I didn’t feel good, but I thought I was judging a book by its cover.”
“They were not kind, that sounds bad, but they weren’t clean-cut individuals,” she added.
Despite “getting anxious,” the social media personality said she tried to ignore the couple as they continued to “follow her and make comments about what her children looked like.”
She also claimed that she heard the man in a phone call saying: "The boy will be easier because he’s not wearing a mask so the mom must not really care about him that much.”
Katie said the incident left her “paralyzed with fear.”
Following her report, the Petaluma police conducted an investigation and immediately got hold of the accused couple. They were cleared after the authorities determined that the mom influencer’s claim was “false and resoundingly contradicted,” based on the story of the accused pair that aligned with the obtained surveillance footage from the store.
Sadie Martinez, one of the accused, told KTVU in an interview that “racism was alive and well in 2020.”
“You really think it’s okay to go online and be racist and make stories about a family? It’s hard enough to be a Latin family in a white community,” the mother of five said.
After a year of investigation, Katie was arrested and charged with “three misdemeanor counts of making a false report of a crime” in 2021. She was cleared on two counts and was sentenced to only 90 days in jail.
“Ms. Sorensen has been held accountable for her crime and we believe the Judge handed down a fair sentence,” District Attorney Rodriguez said in a statement.
“Our hope is that this measure of accountability will help provide some closure to the couple that was falsely accused of having attempted to kidnap two young children,” he added.