Wife: I'm sorry for trusting Pa. abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell

May 29, 2013 3:30:18 PM PDT
The wife of a Philadelphia abortion doctor who helped out at his corrupt, grimy clinic has been sentenced to seven to 23 months in prison.

Fifty-one-year-old Pearl Gosnell says she's sorry for trusting her husband, who was convicted of murder this month in the deaths of three babies born alive at his clinic. Pearl Gosnell had pleaded guilty to racketeering and performing an illegal abortion.

She says her husband, Kermit, is a coward for not speaking at his trial or apologizing.

The judge gave her credit Wednesday for nearly three months she spent in jail after her arrest.

Pearl Gosnell has 30 days to surrender to authorities. She will be eligible for parole in late October, after which she will have to serve 2 years probation.

A judge rescheduled the sentencing dates Wednesday for three other former clinic workers, 43-year-old Lynda Williams, 53-year-old Sherry West and 47-year-old Tina Baldwin, because the women still have unresolved federal drug charges.

A fourth employee, who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and other charges, is going home after being jailed for 28 months.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted this month of first-degree murder in three infant deaths, and involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient who was given a fatal overdose of painkillers.

West and Baldwin are now scheduled to be sentenced June 24. Williams is due in court July 1.

Thirty-six-year-old Adrienne Moton, who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and other charges, is going home after being jailed for 28 months.

Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said Wednesday that he's sending Moton home and she has shown remorse for her crimes.

In an emotionally wrought statement, Moton told the court she thought she was helping women but never thought about the babies at Gosnell's clinic. Former employees have testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit; delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing; and dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.

Two other women former employees, Sherry West, 53, and Tina Baldwin, 47, had their sentencings postponed because both still have unresolved federal drug charges pending.

West was convicted of third-degree murder. Baldwin pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, and corrupting a minor - her daughter, who also worked at Gosnell's clinic. West and Baldwin are now scheduled to be sentenced June 24.

The case became a flashpoint in the nation's polarized abortion debate. Foes said it exposed the true nature of abortion in all its disturbing detail. Abortion rights activists warned that Gosnell's practice foreshadows what women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.

Also scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday was Gosnell's wife, Pearl, 51, who has spent two years on house arrest and could be sent to prison for racketeering and performing an illegal abortion. She feels she's left "holding the bag" after her husband shamed the family, turned down a plea deal that would have kept her out of prison, and refused to speak at his trial, her lawyer said Tuesday.

"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.

"Her name is still Gosnell, unfortunately," he added. "I guess it's like being Mrs. Frankenstein."

West's lawyer described Gosnell as a controlling, charismatic figure who manipulated naive, poor and uneducated employees. She pleaded guilty to murder for helping give narcotics to the patient who died, although she was the only employee who also accompanied the dying woman to the hospital.

Many of the Gosnell co-defendants have already been in prison for more than two years, since a 2011 grand jury report lifted the veil on what prosecutors have called a "house of horrors."


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