The Indiana attorney general’s investigation into the doctor who provided abortion care to a 10-year-old rape survivor includes six consumer complaints from people who never interacted with the doctor, according to his lawyer.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis, provided care for the 10-year-old girl after her home state of Ohio banned abortion at the sign of a so-called ‘heartbeat’. fetal, about six weeks pregnant. The state enacted the law hours after the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to abortion on June 24.
Earlier this month, following scrutiny from the right and baseless attacks claiming Dr Bernard fabricated the story or failed to meet reporting requirements that the girl was in his custody, Republican Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced that his office was investigating the case.
Kathleen DeLaney, attorney for Dr. Bernard, announced on July 28 that Mr. Rokita had sent the doctor six letters initiating investigations into consumer complaints – from residents of California, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and one from Indiana.
“Each complaint form confirms that the person had no interaction with Dr. Bernard,” according to Ms. DeLaney. “None of the complaints were from a ‘consumer’ who purchased goods or services from Dr. Bernard or even from anyone who had direct communication with Dr. Bernard.”
The complaints “are not based on any first-hand knowledge” and are “riddled with inaccuracies”, including listing a phone number for Dr. Bernard at 555-555-5555.
Ms. DeLaney sent a cease and desist letter to Mr. Rokita on July 15, urging him to stop publishing “false and misleading statements about Dr. Bernard’s alleged misconduct in his profession, which constitute defamation in themselves “.
Dr. Bernard’s attorneys have also filed a notice of tort claim against Mr. Rokita and his office.
In a July 27 statement, Mr. Rokita called the defamation lawsuit against him “baseless” and “mere attempts to distract, intimidate and impede my office’s monumental progress in saving lives.”
“We urge Mr. Rokita to stop wasting taxpayers’ money and our time on his senseless campaign against Dr. Bernard for doing his job as a doctor properly and according to the law,” Ms. DeLaney said in a statement Thursday. “We continue to explore legal remedies to hold Mr. Rokita accountable for his conduct.”
In a statement to The IndependentKelly Stevenson, press secretary for the attorney general’s office, said the office is “investigating a variety of consumer complaints in the Consumer Protection Division, which is a large division within the office.” We do not discuss the details of the investigations.
Dr. Bernard reported the abortion procedure to the Indiana Department of Health on July 2, two days after it was performed, in accordance with state reporting requirements, according to state documents. His employer, Indiana University Health, also conducted a review and determined that Dr. Bernard is “in compliance with privacy laws.”
The man suspected of raping 10-year-old child Gerson Fuentes was ordered to be held without bail at a hearing in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday after a judge cited the overwhelming evidence against him, including including the results of a DNA test which would have confirmed that he raped the girl.
He pleaded not guilty to two counts of child rape. (A not guilty plea may be common in criminal court to compel the defendant to consider state evidence.) If found guilty, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Independent Gt