By Dave Andrusko
One after another, former employees of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell are themselves being sentenced. Today it was Gosnell’s third wife, Pearl Gosnell, who was sentenced to seven to 23 months in prison, according to blogger JD Mullane. Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said she benefitted from a “foul operation masquerading as a medical facility.” She was charged with racketeering and performing an illegal abortion.
MaryClaire Dale, writing for the Associated Press, ran a highly sympathetic piece last evening. Mrs. Gosnell has spent two years on house arrest, and, according to Dale, Kermit Gosnell ”had turned down a plea offer that would have let her keep their house and stay home on probation with their teenage daughter.” Gosnell did not testify in his own defense nor did he speak to judge prior to sentencing.
“You can tell from the arrogance that he displayed – turning down the deal, as well as refusing to speak – he’s left her holding the bag in terms of talking to the public and apologizing,” defense lawyer Michael Medway told The Associated Press.
Mrs. Gosnell, however, was also the only employee whom her husband trusted to assist him on the most disgusting illegal abortions, according to the grand jury report.
“Gosnell made little effort to hide his illegal abortion practice. But there were some, ‘the really big ones,’ that even he was afraid to perform in front of others. These abortions were scheduled for Sundays, a day when the clinic was closed and none of the regular employees were present. Only one person was allowed to assist with these special cases – Gosnell’s wife. The files for these patients were not kept at the office; Gosnell took them home with him and disposed of them. We may never know the details of these cases. We do know, however, that, during the rest of the week, Gosnell routinely aborted and killed babies in the sixth and seventh month of pregnancy. The Sunday babies must have been bigger still.”
Meanwhile, Adrienne Moton, who prior to the trial confessed to killing 10 babies aborted alive using the technique Gosnell taught her, was released today after Judge Lerner sentenced her to 28 months time served. Judge Lerner specifically cited her cooperation with prosecutors.
In a six-week-long trial filled with dramatic (and nauseous) testimony, Moton’s ranked near the top. Moton, 35, testified that she, Gosnell, and other employees cut the spinal cords of dozens of babies – some still moving. Three paragraphs from the story by the Philadelphia Daily News’ Mensah M. Dean deftly summarized Moton’s powerful testimony:
“Moton’s memory of one baby – known in court as ‘Baby A’ – brought her to tears. The child was born in July 2008 so large and seemingly healthy in the 29th week of pregnancy that Moton took a cellphone picture before Gosnell rushed in and carried the boy away, she said. Abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are banned in Pennsylvania.
“’I just saw a big baby boy. He had that color, that color that a baby has,’ a weeping Moton said under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron.
“’I just felt he could have had a chance. . . . He could have been born any day,’ added Moton, who has been jailed for 26 months.”
Mullane tweeted that
“Moton told Judge Lerner that ‘I am truly sorry for the role I played’ and that snipping necks of babies now ‘bothers me to my soul.’”
Yesterday Elizabeth Hampton received one year of probation after pleading guilty to have perjured herself in testimony to the grand jury. “Hampton, 55, had grown up in foster care with Pearl Gosnell,” Dale reported. “Hampton cleaned instruments at the clinic and worked the front desk, while her husband worked as a janitor. They also lived in one of Gosnell’s rental properties.”
Sentencing of Lynda Williams was deferred until July 1. Gosnell will stand trial (or more likely plead guilty) to charges that he illegally distributed prescription drugs. Authorities accused Williams of aiding him.