A white California “morin influencer” who said a Latino couple tried to kidnap their children was charged after police said she fabricated the story.
Katie Sorensen of Sonoma was charged Thursday with two counts of making false reports, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said. One was sent to a police distributor and another to an officer according to authorities.
Sorensen is sentenced to a maximum of six months in prison for each charge.
It was not clear on Tuesday whether she had been given a lawyer, and Sorensen could not be reached at the telephone numbers given to her.
In December, she posted a video on social media saying a man and a woman were trying to kidnap their two children in the parking lot of a Michael̵
Sorensen reported the fabricated incident to police, leading to an attempted kidnapping.
Petaluma police released a photo of a man and woman but cleared the couple after talking to them. In a December statement, police said “the investigation has not provided evidence or witnesses to confirm the account provided by the reporting party.”
“Collected evidence has served to support the account the couple provided from the store,” police continued.
In his social media video, Sorensen said a man parked near the back of the Michaels party approached her as she put her children in a double stroller.
She said the man looked “for a while” and went back in his car, but then followed her inside the store. Sorensen said in the video that the man was accompanied by a woman, and they gave her “heebie-jeebies.”
“I did not feel good, but I thought I was judging a book by its cover. They were not friendly, it sounds bad, but they were not pure individuals,” she said.
Sorensen, who describes himself on social media as one “morinfluencer, “went on to claim that the couple made comments about what her children looked like when they followed her. She said she did not say anything to the couple because she was” paralyzed by fear. “
In the video, Sorensen said she had finished shopping, paid for the goods and started walking to her car when she noticed that the couple was still following her. At one point, she described how the man walked toward his car and took “two steps forward toward the stroller,” before taking “two steps back.”
She claimed the couple drove away after she cried for help.
The couple was identified by local media as Sadie and Eddie Martinez. According to Petaluma Argus-Courier, they denied the allegations at a press conference in December, saying they were at Michaels’ to buy Christmas decorations.
The couple said they believe Sorensen’s false accusations were racially motivated.
“I could not believe it. It’s like we’re literally guilty of being brown while we shop,” Sadie Martinez said.
“I do not know if anyone has been aware for the last four years, but there has been a lot of racism and well, Katie is following suit,” she continued. Am I shocked? No. But will we stand for it? Hell no.”
Sadie Martinez told the outlet Thursday that she was happy Sorensen was charged. “It is a good step towards justice. It gives you hope, ”she said.
Darryl Morin, with the group Fremad Latino in Wisconsin, urged social media sites to remove Sorensen’s video and replace it with a message saying her accusations are false.
“This was not a random act. This was something that was intended and orchestrated to, we believe, create fear in society, create greater division and to promote hatred,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “When we see someone deliberately making these racist accusations to promote themselves, it can have catastrophic consequences for members of our society.”