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Kerry Kennedy DWI charges spur privacy concerns

Kerry Kennedy addresses the media shortly before the

Kerry Kennedy addresses the media shortly before the funeral of her sister-in-law, Mary Kennedy. (May 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Faye Murman

The Kennedy clan, standing at the center of a whirlwind of news reports in recent weeks, elicited mixed feelings Sunday from residents and shoppers questioned in Mount Kisco and other parts of the region.

While some said the Kennedys' conduct should be exemplary, others professed indifference.

On Friday, police found Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, slumped over the wheel of her car before she was charged Friday with driving while impaired by drugs, a law enforcement source told Newsday.

The source said the 52-year-old Bedford woman told police she had taken Ambien, a prescription drug typically used to combat insomnia. Kerry Kennedy is scheduled to appear in North Castle Court on Tuesday.

Her arrest marks yet another chapter in what has been a difficult year for the family. In May, Mary Richardson Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy's sister-in-law and friend of 37 years, committed suicide by hanging herself in the barn of her Bedford home. Last week, autopsy results were released showing that Mary Richardson Kennedy, who had struggled with substance abuse, had anti-depressants in her system at the time of her death.

In February, Kerry Kennedy's brother, Douglas, became embroiled in a lawsuit with nurses at a New York hospital, who claim he pushed them while trying to take his newborn son from the maternity ward.

The Mount Kisco-Bedford area is Kennedy central in Westchester County, within range of both Kerry Kennedy and Mary Richardson Kennedy's homes, and the church where Mary Richardson Kennedy was mourned.

"Isn't it tragic?" Jane Pieragostini of Seasonz Boutique said at the Mount Kisco shop Sunday.

Pieragostini and her colleague Beth Vetare-Civitello both said that the Kennedy family deserved privacy in the matter.

"I don't know what happened, but it's none of my business," Vetare-Civitello said, noting that the region is home to many celebrities and wealthy executives, who shop in the boutique but deserve anonymity.

But four shoppers from Long Island disagreed, saying the Kennedy family's wealth and politics have put it in the spotlight. "They're Kennedys," Jill Kology of West Babylon said. "It's the price you pay for being in the public eye."

Although the women sympathized with the family, Susan Mazzella of Lindenhurst said the Kennedys are held to a higher standard because of the family name.

"They're expected to set an example, and they're not doing that," Mazzella said.

Kerry Kennedy's spokesman, Ken Sunshine, on Friday released a statement saying that Breathalyzer, blood and urine tests will exonerate her. His company did not return a call for comment Sunday.

There was no answer at the front door of Kerry Kennedy's Bedford home, accessed by an overgrown walking path. A silver Lexus with a Joe Kennedy for Congress bumper sticker sat in the driveway.

A male passenger in a black SUV, who claimed to be the owner of the property, said the property was private and the media were not welcome.

Kerry Kennedy's arrest came after her car sideswiped a tractor-trailer on Interstate 684 in northern Westchester County and left the scene in her 2008 Lexus RS 350 around 8 a.m. Friday. She was found by police about five miles away on the shoulder of exit 3 leading to Route 22, her car damaged and a tire flattened, police said.

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