A social media influencer, Kathleen “Katie” Sorensen, has been sentenced to jail for fabricating kidnapping accusations against a couple at an arts and crafts store in Petaluma, California.
On Thursday, Sorensen, 31, received a 90-day jail sentence, with the possibility of serving 60 days through a work-release program. Additionally, she was placed on 12 months of informal probation and is prohibited from having any social media presence during this period. The judge also ordered Sorensen to undergo a 4-hour implicit bias training and pay various fines and fees, as reported by CBS News.
Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez expressed satisfaction with the sentence, stating that Sorensen has been held accountable for her crime. Rodriguez hopes that this measure of accountability brings closure to the couple who were falsely accused of attempting to kidnap two young children.
The incident occurred in December 2020 when Sorensen contacted the Petaluma Police Department, claiming that a couple had tried to kidnap her children at a Michaels craft store. She later posted a video on Instagram, which went viral, accusing the couple and raising awareness about child safety.
However, prosecutors discovered discrepancies between Sorensen’s Instagram video and the information she provided to the police. Further investigations and interviews with the accused couple revealed that Sorensen’s report was false. The store’s surveillance video also contradicted her claims.
During the trial, it was revealed that Sorensen likely created the kidnapping hoax for social media attention. The couple wrongfully accused by Sorensen expressed their disbelief and frustration, stating that they felt targeted due to their ethnicity. The sentencing aims to hold Sorensen accountable for her actions and deter others from engaging in similar deceptive behavior.