For Immediate Release
Influencer Sentenced to Jail for Knowingly Making a False Report of Attempted Kidnap
SANTA ROSA, CA | June 29, 2023
Kathleen Sorensen, 30 years old, formerly of Sonoma, whose Instagram video went viral in December 2020 after she falsely claimed a Petaluma couple tried to kidnap her children at a local Michaels store, was sentenced to jail today on a single count of knowingly making a false report of a crime.
The Honorable Judge Laura Passaglia presided over the sentencing hearing and ordered Ms. Sorensen to serve 90 days in jail, 60 of which could be served on a work release program. Ms. Sorensen was immediately remanded after sentencing to serve her sentence. Ms. Sorensen was also placed on 12 months of informal probation during which time she was ordered to have no social media presence, submit to warrantless search and seizure, to include her electronic devices, complete a 4-hour implicit bias training, as well as various fines and fees.
District Attorney Rodriguez stated, “Ms. Sorensen has been held accountable for her crime and we believe the Judge handed down a fair sentence. 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.”
On December 7, 2020, Ms. Sorensen went to the Michaels craft store with her two young children. After purchasing a few items, Ms. Sorensen returned to her car, loaded her children into the car and left the Michael’s parking lot. A few minutes later Ms. Sorensen called the Petaluma Police Department and reported that a couple had tried to kidnap her children. About a week later Ms. Sorensen made and published an Instagram video wherein she went into great detail about the near abduction of her young children. There were significant additional details that were included in her Instagram video that had not been disclosed to the Petaluma Police Department. The Instagram video went viral, and Ms. Sorensen also went on a local news program repeating her account. Officers from the Petaluma Police Department followed up with Ms. Sorensen. During that interview, Ms. Sorensen identified a Petaluma couple from Michaels’ store video as being the perpetrators. Ms. Sorensen’s report was determined to be false and resoundingly contradicted by the accused couple as well as store video that was obtained.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner and District Attorney Investigator Ed Crosby. The Petaluma Police Department headed the investigation.
Media Spokesperson, Assistant District Attorney Brian Staebell
Media Coordinator, Carrie Trevena