Earlier this week, Greg Kelly, a news anchor on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York,” was accused in a complaint to Manhattan’s 13th precinct of sexually assaulting a young woman last October at the law firm where she works.
Kelly has “strenuously” denied the charges and authorities are investigating.
Now, there are a lot of ways to make that story buzz. The accused attacker is a public figure who cheerfully appears every morning in New York City living rooms. He is from a prominent family, was previously a White House correspondent, and has been U.S. fighter pilot in Iraq. The accuser, though not identified publicly, has a very vocal and activist boyfriend who recently agitated for reprisals “at a public event” attended by dignitaries. She also has at least one spokesfriend who has told reporters that the incident with Kelly “ruined her life.”
Yet the New York Post succinctly sums the story up in five (96-point type) words: “KELLY SON IN SEX PROBE!” Although Kelly is 43 and has distinguished himself personally and professionally, the headline is about his 70-year-old father, New York City Commissioner of Police Raymond Kelly .
Clearly, the long-serving commissioner, possible future FBI director and architect of New York City’s state-of-the-art 3,000-camera surveillance system was not a participant in whatever happened in Lower Manhattan four months ago, but as relatives of celebrities have always known, fame (or infamy) casts a long shadow.
Offspring of the successful and well-connected have many advantages but, if things go wrong, even righteous parents get the blame.
Like all busy fathers and mothers, illustrious parents watch their children distractedly, love them imperfectly, worry inordinately and guide them determinedly until they become adults. In 2003, Ray Kelly was named Father of the Year.
If Greg Kelly actually sexually attacked a woman, then he should be investigated and convicted. If not, then he should be cleared and his reputation cleared.
Either way, his legendary law enforcement officer father will have little to do with it. Normally, the NYPD would have jurisdiction, but since the accused’s father runs the police department, the office of District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will investigate the allegations.
(Since we’re on a nepotism theme, Vance is the son of a former secretary of the Army and secretary of state.)
One thing may help Vance resolve the matter. Since the two protagonists allegedly met on the street, were drinking in a public place and walked on city streets to the crime scene, surveillance cameras installed by Commissioner Kelly to enhance New York citizens’ safety may provide some clues.
Bonnie Goldstein was a coat-check girl in the ’60s, a hippie in the ’70s, a private eye in the ’80s, a US Senate investigator in the early 1990s and TV news producer in the late ’90s. During the first millennial decade, she was an Internet journalist and meddler in the lives of her adult children. She is married to novelist James Grady. Follow her on Twitter at @kickedbyanangel.