Archive for Friday, September 29, 2006

Kline says inquisition helped in arrest

Abortion clinic says record in case wasn’t among those sought

September 29, 2006


— Controversy over Atty. Gen. Phill Kline's pursuit of abortion records in a secret inquisition reignited Thursday.

Kline, a Republican, held a news conference saying his inquisition helped lead to the arrest of a 21-year-old Topeka man for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl in Marshall County.

But Kline refused to answer whether the case specifically stemmed from his request for medical records of 90 women and girls from two abortion clinics, including one in Wichita run by Dr. George Tiller.

Lee Thompson, an attorney representing Tiller's clinic, said the records in the Marshall County case were not part of records sought by Kline in the inquisition.

"The records, subpoenaed pursuant to the inquisition, from my client have not yet been turned over to the attorney general of Kansas. The court is still performing its review pursuant to the direction of the Supreme Court," Thompson said.

Thompson was referring to an order earlier this year by the Kansas Supreme Court that told Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson, who is presiding over the inquisition, to make sure that patients' privacy rights are maintained before the records can be reviewed.

The inquisition controversy has been prominent in Kline's campaign for re-election. His challenger, Democrat Paul Morrison, and other critics have said that Kline was using the inquisition for political purposes, as a fishing expedition, and to advance his anti-abortion agenda.

Morrison has repeatedly challenged Kline's assertion that the inquisition has produced prosecutions.

On Thursday, Morrison's campaign dismissed Kline's statements about the Marshall County case.

"Phill Kline knows this case has nothing to do with his inquisition into the private medical records of 90 Kansans, " Morrison campaign spokesman Mark Simpson said. "It is disingenuous to try to distract Kansans from his serious invasion of privacy by referring to unrelated cases."

Kline, an ardent abortion opponent has defended the inquisition, saying the subpoena of medical records was necessary to investigate allegations of child rape and illegal late-term abortions.

Kline focused on the Marshall County case to publicize a revived program to catch parole violators and fugitives.

The 21-year-old man turned himself in when he learned that authorities from the state were on his trail, according to Marshall County Atty. Brian Carroll, who stood by Kline during the news conference.

Authorities have accused the man of three counts of unlawful conduct with a 14-year-old girl, including an allegation he had sex with her. He remains in the Marshall County Jail awaiting a preliminary trial hearing.

"The evidence leading to the investigation ... was obtained partially through our inquisition from abortion records," Kline said.

But when pressed, Kline refused to provide much more detail.

"You guys know that I can't get into that without these clinics screaming to high heaven that somehow I am violating a gag order," Kline said.

The man's attorney, James Heathman, of Topeka, said he didn't want to comment on Kline's statements.

"I'd prefer not to comment on anything on the case at this point," Heathman said.

He noted that his client turned himself in last week.

"He wanted to get this moving and cleared as soon as possible," Heathman said.

The charges stemmed from a March 17 incident in which the accused took the girl to a hotel in Marysville, according to the complaint from Marshall County authorities.

But Kline said his office was alerted to alleged problems from an abortion record on an earlier date.

Kline later indicated that the medical record at the center of the case came from Tiller's clinic.

But Tiller's attorney Thompson said it definitely did not come from the 90 records that were the subject of the fight before the state Supreme Court.

He said the clinic routinely turns over records to law authorities "in appropriate cases where requests are narrow and defined."

He described Kline's request for the 90 records as "blunderbuss."

Sherriene Jones, a spokeswoman for Kline, later said once investigators in the attorney general's office saw the medical record in the Marshall County case, they notified authorities there who were already looking for the suspect because of a later incident.

Kline also referenced another case of alleged rape - this one in Parsons - as evidence that the inquisition is paying off in criminal prosecutions, but again did not comment on whether it was related to the subpoenaed medical records that were in dispute before the state Supreme Court.

"We've gathered evidence from numerous sources as it relates to our investigation," Kline said.

It is the Journal-World's policy to not name those accused of sex crimes unless they are convicted.


Lethargic_Bureaucrat 11 years, 8 months ago

Despite a gag order by the district court judge that is handling the inquisition, despite an admonishment by the Kansas Supreme Court to stop talking about the case, Kline announces that a specific prosecution has resulted from records obtained from Tiller through the inquisition. Then, when it is pointed out that Tiller has turned over no records yet in the inquisition, Kline falls back on the line that he can't comment, since the inquisition is sealed.

When is one of the courts going to make him stop? He shouldn't be allowed to make politically expedient claims while ignoring the gag order, and then rely on the gag order when it becomes apparent his story doesn't hold together. Are our courts so scared of him that he can get away with anything?

Frank Smith 11 years, 8 months ago

Have I missed something? Though the terminology is certainly apt, Kline's fishing expedition is an "inquisition?"

Kline would fit the profile of Schiller's and Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor, of course, denying choice to humanity because he feels it would stand in the way of redemption. And in his ferreting out of what he feverishly conceives as heresy, he clearly resembles a modern day Tomas de Torquemada.

What's next? Would he have us be bound to spy upon our neighbors. Will he view restrictions against torture, as does Alberto Gonzales, as but "quaint" notions from an earlier, naive period?

Ragingbear 11 years, 8 months ago

I thought the secret inquisition was to find out which clinic leader was stirring aborted fetuses into his lunch and cooking them. Does anyone else remember that accusation that Mr. Kline flung out at the beginning of this?

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

Wow. More unethical and dishonest doublespeak from Phill Kline.

I am shocked.

Porter 11 years, 8 months ago

commonsense- Those accusations (Dr. Rajanna) came up in 2004. What ended up happening?

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

Inquisition is the proper legal term for the process that Kline has initiated.

CommonSense4All 11 years, 8 months ago

try to deny the fetus eating abortion doc if you want, but the story is true. By the way Kline did not make that accusation, an employee of the clinic and a KC cop did....

"Detective William Howard of the Kansas City Police Department responded.

"I thought I had heard and seen every vile, disgusting crime scene, but was in for a new shock when I started this investigation," he would say later. Howard turned the matter over to the local district attorney and three state agencies.

Topping the list of horrors was an employee's account that she and others witnessed Rajanna "microwave one of the aborted fetuses and stir it into his lunch," as Howard recalled earlier this year when testifying before a Kansas House committee.

Rajanna denied the accusation. But he did keep fetuses in Styrofoam cups in the refrigerator along with food and drink. "

staff04 11 years, 8 months ago

"In a police statement taken during a theft investigation at the clinic, an employee who was a suspect in the fraud told police that Rajanna had been seen putting a fetus in the microwave and stirring it in his lunch. No charges were filed against the employee or Rajanna."

So, a suspect in the theft from the clinic accuses a supervisor of something outrageous, DURING the investigation. Go figure.

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

"Why aren't abortion clinics required to report pregnancies of under-age girls? Medical professionals have the responsibility to report other suspected cases of child abuse, are they not?"

Sure. But not every pregnant 15 year-old girl has been the victim of abuse. There must be room for discretion. Knowledge of a broken bone does not equate to physical abuse absent something more. Knowledge of sexual activity does not equate to sexual abuse absent something more.

If the mere knowledge that a minor was having sex were enough to warrant intervention by the state then nearly every family with teenagers in KS would have to explain to SRS why their kids were both the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse for everything from intercourse that results in pregnancy to manual stimulation. Maybe one could narrow that by re-defining sex as intercourse only - but that is not true either.

Kline is wrong on the mandated reporter issue and he continues to lie and deceive about the purpose, method, and efficacy of his inquisition into the medical records of the 90 women he has dragged into the public square,

WilburM 11 years, 8 months ago

What do we learn here? Actually learn? That with 40 days left to the election, PHill Kline is freaking out. He can't defend himself, so he stays on the offense, getting farther and farther from a grounded argument. What's next? Watch for his ads, where reporters cannot hound him about actual facts. BTW, the LJW did a good thing by reprinting the actual Q+A here, demonstrating that Kline not only wants to control what he says, but also what reporters write.

oldgoof 11 years, 8 months ago

staff04: you nailed the issue down correctly. Nobody who heard and checked into this situation gave it ANY credence, except the pro-lifer's looking for salacious headlines. They kept dragging this poor policeman around to repeat this lurid stuff to any legislative audience they could find.

Tychoman 11 years, 8 months ago

Ragingbear, lunches? That's laughable (even for Kline).

Kline Gone in 2006.

towniejj 11 years, 8 months ago

Solomon, I understand that 14 year olds are not supposed to have sex...but to assume every 14 year old who gets pregnant and has an abortion did so because she was raped by an older man is short cited. Don't you think that 14 year old girls have sex with 14 year old boys? Do you want to prosecute those cases too?

Teenagers have sex with each other...big surprise, it happens! I suggest that you be a good parent, talk to your kids, and be there for them so that YOU know what is going on with YOUR OWN kids' bodies, and keep Phil Kline out of it!!

WilburM 11 years, 8 months ago

Inquisition is also the proper metaphorical term.

Lethargic_Bureaucrat 11 years, 8 months ago

What do you want to bet that Kline's October Surprise will be to arrest Tiller (on charges that will be dismissed by the court a few months after the election as frivolous)?

middleoftheroader 11 years, 8 months ago

the inquisition... what a show... the inquisition... here we go... the inquisitions here and its here to...staaaaaaaaaaaay. sorry i couldnt help myself

bettie 11 years, 8 months ago

to marion, commonsense, and others that will no doubt pull out the same ill-conceived logic:

abortion providers are mandatory reporters, just like any other physicians. mandatory reporters are not required to report all pregnancies of minors, because as someone pointed out earlier, a 14-year old could have been impregnated by another 14-year old - in other words, pregnancy does not always equate to rape when talking about minors.

all mandatory reporters (physicians, counselors, social workers, etc.) have the discretion to decide which cases might involve abuse and which ones do not. this issue has also been confused by kline, who tried to legislate from his position as attorney general by interpreting the mandatory reporting laws to require reporting of any instance in which a minor has had sex. but that's a whole other embarrassing supreme court case...

the point is, abortion providers routinely report instances of suspected abuse to the authorities. when the inquisition was first challenged in court, law enforcement officials in both the wichita and kansas city areas (the locations of the clinics being subpoenaed) both testified that they had prosecuted many cases based on reports from the clinics, and that the clinics had been helpful in making those arrests.

when kline says that arrests have been made based on clinic records, he is correct. that has been and always will be the case, but it is beside the point. kline is trying to confound the issue by claiming that the arrests were made because of his inquisition. this is impossible, as his office has yet to obtain the records subpoenaed.

the subpoena of one record or a handful of records in a situation where probable cause has been established is an entirely different scenario than kline's throwing out a dragnet and hoping to find something in one of the 90 files he's subpoenaed. (by the way, fewer than 10% of those 90 records belong to minors - the rest are adult women's.)

his rhetoric at the beginning of this debacle was mainly that clinics were "harboring child rapists"; that is, that they were not reporting suspected abuse. the fact that he is holding up instances of their routine cooperation with law enforcement in order to somehow make his fruitless inquisition appear worthwhile is absolutely despicable.

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