Ted Kennedy: No Affair With Mary Jo, But Actions “Inexcusable”
It’s a shame that Ted Kennedy is gone, for all the obvious reasons. In addition, I’d love to know what he’d say about revelations in his soon-to-released memoir. For one thing, he says he never had an affair with Mary Jo Kopechne, and that he never got over the despair he felt about her 1969 death.
He acknowledged that he enjoyed women and drink – sometimes too much so – but said reports of wild Kennedy excesses were exaggerated. He said he always has accepted the conclusion that a lone assassin killed his brother John and that Kennedy family members had worried about the emotional health of his brother Robert following John’s death in Dallas in 1963. He said it “veered close to being a tragedy within a tragedy.”
Kennedy said his Catholic faith helped sustain him as he wrestled with guilt over the events of July 18, 1969, when he drove a car off a bridge into a pond on the tiny island. His own anguish, he said, paled in comparison with the suffering endured by Kopechne’s family.
“Atonement is a process that never ends,” he wrote.
Kennedy said his actions on Chappaquiddick on July 18, 1969, were “inexcusable.” He said he was afraid and “made terrible decisions” and had to live with the guilt for more than four decades.
He wrote that he had no romantic relationship with Kopechne, and he hardly knew her. He said they were both getting emotional about his brother’s death and decided to leave the party that was hosted by Robert Kennedy’s former staffers. He made similar statements in the days following the crash.
Kennedy also expresses regret about having drinks with his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, in 1991, after which Smith was accused of rape, for which he was acquitted. He said he ran against Jimmy Carter in 1980 primarily because of Carter’s go-slow approach on health care. He wrote that at the age of 9 he’d hide under his bed, scared of a dorm master who was sexually abusive. And Kennedy says he accepted the report of the Warren Commission which concluded that his brother John was killed by a single gunman.Click here for reuse options!
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