Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to post bail for an estimated 300 to 500 low-income women and 16- and 17-year-olds awaiting trial in city jails, maybe the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights charity should consider helping Al Hasbrouck and Burton Tinsley.
The two men are from the Bronx, one black, the other of mixed race. They were falsely accused by RFK’s son and namesake, Robert Kennedy Jr., of killing Martha Moxley, 15, of Greenwich, Connecticut.
The nonprofit, run by RFK Jr.’s sister Kerry, works to “right wrongs, heal pain, expose injustice.” So, what about righting the wrong that RFK Jr. did to Hasbrouck and Tinsley over the killing?
Martha was fatally beaten with a golf club in 1975, a death that has not been fully resolved. The police indicated the killer had personal rage and knew her. The weapon matched a set of clubs found in the home of Martha’s neighbor, Rushton Skakel, the brother of Ethel Kennedy. In 2002, Rushton’s son, Michael, who was 15 at the time and who is RFK Jr.’s first cousin, was convicted of the murder and served 11 years. Connecticut’s top court later ruled his attorney had not provided an adequate defense. Prosecutors have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Most recently, 11 states have joined the appeal.
In 2006, RFK Jr. started peddling the notion in Connecticut courts that Hasbrouck and Tinsley, teens who had visited friends in Greenwich, killed Moxley.
In 2016, after a judge ruled Kennedy’s charge lacked credible evidence, he wrote a book, “Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn’t Commit.”
Hasbrouck and Tinsley had never met Moxley, but Kennedy wrote that the motive for the killing was that Hasbrouck “was obsessed” with Martha’s “beautiful blond hair.” If that wasn’t playing to racial stereotypes, he added that both men then decided to go “cave man” on her. He added that if Hasbrouck and Tinsley were innocent, “Let them sue me.”
Well, like the jailed women and teen who can’t afford to post bail, neither Hasbrouck nor Tinsley has the money to sue him.
“I don’t have the funds to fight this,” Hasbrouck said in 2016. “You can’t just throw innocent people under the bus because it suits him.” He served in the Army, graduated from SUNY Brockport, has been married for 20 years, has a daughter and for 15 years has worked as a networks operations supervisor in NYC. “There is nothing as devastating as being called a murderer,” he said.