Danish mother takes on New York

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The Independent Online
ANETTE SORENSEN didn't understand that in America, one has to behave the way Americans do or risk the penalty. Now, Ms Sorensen, a Danish woman, is responding the way any American would: she is suing.

She went into a restaurant in New York City for a drink, and left her 14-month-old outside in a pushchair, a few feet the other side of a window. She was close enough to see the child's face.

In Denmark, a country which cares very deeply about children, and has some of the best childcare arrangements in the world, that would not have raised an eyebrow, but in America, it was deemed a crime.

She and the child's father, Exavier Wardlaw, were arrested and strip searched. The child was sent to hospital and tested for sexual abuse even though there was not the slightest evidence of this. All charges were dropped.

Two years later, Ms Sorensen is back in court, suing police and the city for $20m (pounds 12.5m). She and Mr Wardlaw contend that they were falsely arrested, and Ms Sorensen says she suffered emotional and mental anguish and a damaged reputation. She is an actress.

William Fraenkel, who represented New York in the trial, argued: "You don't leave a 14-month-old baby on a New York City street unattended."