Black Teenager Wrongfully Accused of Stealing ‘SoHo Karen’s’ iPhone Seeking Therapy

Keyon Harrold Jr., the Black 14-year-old who was wrongfully accused of stealing 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto’s iPhone in a New York City hotel, is currently seeking therapy.

On Sunday, Keyon Jr.’s father Keyon Harrold told TMZ that he and his ex-wife are currently vetting therapists to get their son into trauma therapy.

Keyon says his son has been extremely traumatized by the incident, in which Miya was seen on hotel surveillance video tackling Keyon Jr. after accusing him of stealing her phone. (Police later said Miya’s cellphone had been left in an Uber and was returned later that day.)

"I have tried to instill dignity in my son. I'm trying to build his ego, because for so long egos of Black men have been shattered,” Keyon told TMZ.

Keyon also said his son has thoughts about whether “he's good enough to own an iPhone, or whether he's out of place at a nice hotel."

In response to this, Keyon made sure to let his son know that, "You definitely belong, everywhere you go."

In a previous interview with TMZ last week, Keyon Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, a saxophonist in Beyoncé’s all-female band, said her son asked her, “‘Why did she think she can accuse me? Why me, Mom?’”

In response, Kat told Keyon Jr. that she strongly believes his race played a factor in Miya’s accusation.

“‘Well, Son, it might be because you’re Black, and it might be because she felt threatened and you didn’t fit in into this nice hotel.’ No one should ever have to deal with that. No one!” an emotional Kat told the outlet at the time.

On New Year’s Eve, The New York Post reported that NYPD sources identified the woman in question as Miya Ponsetto, whose last known address is in Sun Valley, California, and who has been dubbed “SoHo Karen” by social media users.

That day, CNN conducted a phone call with the woman — but did not name her because she had concerns about her safety unrelated to the incident — that they described as “rambling at times.”

In the 20-minute interview, the woman disputed the accusations against her and said she was assaulted during the altercation. (CNN said they could not corroborate her account with investigators or with the hotel.)

The woman said she first demanded to see the hotel's surveillance video and then asked someone else in the hotel lobby to "empty their pocket.” Then, she confronted Keyon Harrold Jr., who she maintained had her phone in his pocket.

"That's when everything got a little bit more serious," she said.

Last Tuesday, NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told CNN that investigators are considering charging the woman with assault and possibly grand larceny or attempted robbery.

"The investigation is still preliminary, a lot of work still needs to be done," Harrison said. "The complainants are cooperating and I'm confident that the investigators from the first precinct will make an arrest on this case sooner than later."

Additionally, a spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said his office "is thoroughly investigating" the incident, and the NYPD confirmed that a complaint for harassment has been filed.

When asked if she is concerned about possibly facing charges, the woman told CNN last Tuesday, "Of course I worry. That's not who I am. I actually... try very hard to make sure that I am always doing the right thing."

The woman also said she is willing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and will provide evidence that she believes will confirm her assault claims. She also said she hasn't received a call from the NYPD yet, nor has she reached out herself. She said she would be willing to talk directly to the Harrold family.

Though police initially described her as white, Miya said in a paparazzi video shot last week outside a Southern California McDonald’s that she is of Puerto Rican descent.


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