A white California "mom influencer" has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for fabricating a story about a Latino couple trying to kidnap her children.
Katie Sorensen was convicted in April of making a false report of a crime after her December 2020 social media post that alleged a man and woman tried to kidnap her two children in the parking lot of a Michaels craft store in Petaluma, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.
The accused couple were ultimately cleared by authorities of any wrongdoing. The district attorney’s office said in April that Sorensen's report to police was false and "resoundingly contradicted by the accused couple as well as store video that was obtained."
Judge Laura Passaglia on Thursday ordered Sorensen to serve 90 days in jail, 60 of which could be served on a work-release program, a news release states. She was immediately taken into custody Thursday.
Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said the sentence was fair.
"Our hope is that this measure of accountability will help provide some closure to the couple that was falsely accused of having attempted to kidnap two young children," Rodriguez said in a statement.
Sorensen's attorney, Charles Dresow, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
In the social media video, Sorensen alleged that the couple had followed her into the store, trailed her as she shopped with her children in a stroller and made comments about her children’s appearance. The self-described "mom influencer" went on to say that the couple gave her the "heebie-jeebies" and "weren’t clean-cut individuals."
Sorensen said she did not say anything to the couple because she was "paralyzed with fear." She further alleged that they followed her out of the store to her car and lingered near the stroller as she placed her children in the vehicle.
She said in the video that the couple drove off after she yelled for help.
The couple denied her claims and told the Petaluma Argus-Courier that they were at Michaels to buy Christmas decorations. They said they believe Sorensen’s false allegations were racially motivated.
Sorensen was arrested and charged in 2021 with three misdemeanor counts of making a false report of a crime. She was found not guilty on two of the counts.
In addition to serving time in jail, Sorensen was placed on informal probation for a year during which she is prohibited from having a social media presence, must complete a four-hour implicit bias training and submit to warrantless search and seizure, the district attorney's office said.