Nanny Who Witnessed Woody Allen’s ‘Shocking’ Behavior Toward Dylan Farrow Comes Forward
Allison Stickland, the nanny who allegedly witnessed Woody Allen burying his head in Dylan Farrow’s naked lap—which helped kick off the child abuse investigation—speaks out.
Most are likely unfamiliar with the accusation that helped kick off the investigation into Woody Allen’s alleged child sexual abuse of his 7-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. It came from Allison Stickland, the nanny to Farrow family friend Casey Pascal, who was at Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s Connecticut country home on Aug. 4, 1992.
During the eventual child custody trial, Stickland, who was watching Pascal’s young children—who were friends with the Farrow kids—that day, testified that she saw Allen being inappropriate with Dylan.
“Dylan was sitting upright on the couch and Woody was kneeling directly in front of her with his face in Dylan’s lap,” she stated. “His face was very close to her private area.”
Since Dylan was not wearing underpants that day (according to the testimony of Dylan’s French tutor Sophie Berge, Mia Farrow, and their neighbor), Allen was, by Stickland’s account, burying his face in her naked lap while Dylan sat on a couch “staring vacantly in the direction of a television set.” Stickland’s testimony is of particular importance as she was the only adult in the house when the abuse allegedly happened who was not employed by Allen or Farrow (the other two were Farrow nanny Kristi Groteke and Berge).
As Amy Herdy—an investigative journalist who headed the research on HBO’s four-part docuseries Allen v. Farrow—explains, this incident ultimately led to Dylan’s confession to her mother that Allen had allegedly molested her in their attic that day. (Allen has denied the allegation and accused Mia Farrow of “coaching” Dylan.)
“People just need to look at the timeline. You have a nanny [Allison Stickland] who walked in on Woody Allen with his face in Dylan’s naked lap. She disclosed that to her employer, who was Casey Pascal, that night,” Herdy told me. “Then Casey told Mia, and Mia immediately brought it up with Dylan the next morning. So that’s a lot of short-term intensive coaching, if you want to go the coaching route and explore that as a plausible allegation. That’s a short amount of time to do an enormous amount of coaching in a young child.”
On Monday afternoon, Stickland appeared on the Allen v. Farrow podcast with the docuseries’ team, Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering, and Amy Herdy, to tell her side. Herdy spent two years trying to track down Allison Stickland in the U.K., eventually writing snail-mail letters to addresses listed under her name. They only heard from Stickland after the Allen v. Farrow episodes had locked, so she unfortunately didn’t make it into the docuseries.
“You don’t think something all those years ago is going to come back, so it was a shock,” said Stickland. “I didn’t respond very quickly because I had to let it sink in… I felt, you know, it’s something I kind of really need to do, because if I leave it and don’t, it will probably eat away at me.”
Then Stickland discussed how she would oversee the Pascal children at Farrow and Allen’s country home in Connecticut during the summer months and what she thought of the sprawling Farrow clan.
“I thought it was a lovely household. Lovely children, they all got along well together. There never seemed to be any sibling rivalry. The older children I would say had fun with the younger ones. It was just very happy. I wouldn’t say it was troubled at all,” described Stickland. “I thought [Mia] was lovely. She was a very soft-spoken, gentle lady. Very attentive. You could tell it was so obvious that she adored all her children.”
The filmmakers proceeded to ask Stickland to recall what happened on Aug. 4, 1992.
“From what I remember, Mrs. Pascal and Mia went away to do shopping for a few hours, and myself, Mia’s babysitter, and this French tutor, we were all at the house watching the children, and Woody came on a visit,” she said. “And at some point during the day, I didn’t see one of Mrs. Pascal’s children, so I went in the house to have a look, and I opened the door to this small TV room, and when I opened it, I saw Woody on his knees, kneeling down in front of Dylan with his head in her lap.”
“I just walked, turned, and went,” Stickland continued. “I was shocked. I thought it was very odd. I thought… I didn’t know what to think of it, really. It’s not something you expect to see… a situation you expect to see a father and daughter in.”
Stickland said she was sure Allen was aware of the intrusion because she had just walked into the room normally, as she was looking for one of the missing Pascal kids. She told the filmmakers that she confided in Mrs. Pascal about what she saw later that evening during dinner.
“I was just eating and I just felt, no, I need to get this off my chest and share it with Mrs. Pascal,” said Stickland, adding, “It didn’t strike me as normal behavior. You don’t expect a father to have his head in his young daughter’s lap, so that’s why it bothered me so much. [Allen] obviously looks at it differently, but it’s not the kind of appropriate behavior you expect from a father, really.”
As for her court testimony during the child custody trial, she remarked: “All I could do was go and tell the truth.”