KAKE - Find It - Tuesday Headlines

Investigator On Stand At Dr. Tiller Hearing

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Update - Tuesday, 5:00pm

Court is in recess for the day, and Tom Williams is dismissed as a witness. Court will resume Wednesday morning at 9:00.

Authorities say Paul Morrison could take the stand late tomorrow, but more than likely on Thursday.

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Update - Tuesday, 3:15pm

Monnat asks if Williams thought it was easy to get a late-term abortion in Kansas and that nobody audited the practice. Williams says the evidence he obtained lead him to believe, as did Kline, that the laws were not being enforced or reviewed as they should have been.

Monnat asks Williams if he was aware, in 14 months of investigating, that doctors such as Tiller endure threats, assasination attempts, bombings of their clinics, and that it is inherently dangerous to be in the profession. William says he was aware.

Williams says he couldn't understand why so many people came to Kansas for late-term abortions. Monnat says it's because there are very few who will perform them given either state laws or the personal risks involved.

Monnat asks Williams about a 10-year-old California girl who had an abortion at Tiller's clinic. A report of sexual abuse was not included in the records Williams obtained from SRS. Williams says he believed a report should have been made because the abortion and the doctor were in Wichita, regardless of where the victim was from. Monnat counters and says a girl from California could not be listed as a Kansas victim when an alleged crime took place in another jurisdiction.

Williams says "that's a matter of semantics." Williams says a person visiting Sedgwick County who is involved in "an incident" is a victim in the county where the incident occured.

Williams says he tried to find the 10-year-old girl by calling around to law enforcement in California.

Monnat asks if Williams used the 10-year-old girl as shock value when discussing the case with the judge who signed off on the inquisition. Williams says he did not.

Monnat displays an investigative report that shows the 10-year-old girl was part of a criminal investigation in Sacramento, California. The crime against the girl had been reported, and the perpetrator sucessfully prosecuted. California officials said they were "alarmed" at Williams for seeking the identity of the girl "inasmuch as the matter had already been resolved in California."

Monnat asks Williams if the AG's office thought it was necessary Kansas medical providers report abuse to both their home state and the victim's state. Williams says it's his understanding an abortion on a sex crime victim in Kansas needed to be reported to Kansas authorities regardless of where the crime occured.

Monnat uses the response to scold Williams, asking if he even cared about what happened to the girl in her home state, or if he was just out to "nail" Dr. Tiller for not reporting an out-of-state crime in Kansas.

Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney abrupty objects to the line of questioning and calls for a recess.

Because of deadline time restraints leading up to this evening's newscasts, further updates will be sporadic. Look for a breakdown of today's courtroom proceedings on KAKE News at 6:00.

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Update - Tuesday, 2:30pm

Williams is back on the stand after lunch. His testimony is now stretching a full day, having started about this time on Monday.

Monnat asks Williams about one of his affidavits in which he includes speculations from other doctors who try to explain the discrepancy in the numbers of out-of-state versus in-state late-term abortions.

Many of the doctors said they could come up with no medical or scientific reason why the numbers would be higher. One doctor suggested Tiller might be "cooking the books" and not reporting all abortions, as required by law.

Monnat says the assertion is mere speculation, in no way supported by any factual evidence. Monnat says the truth is women from out-of-state come to Kansas because they cannot get a late-term abortion in their home state. Because of that, the vast majority of nonresident pregnancies are late-term.

Monnat asks Williams if he had a "recipe" for what he wanted the doctors to show in their own review of the abortion statistics. Williams says he did not, and was unfamiliar with the doctors whom he met.

Monnat points out at least one of the doctors was associated with a pro-life group. Williams says he was unaware. Williams says he did not research the background on the doctors he spoke with. He merely took them at their word.

Monnat asks Williams why he wouldn't then take Tiller at his word. Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney promptly objects to the question.

Williams say he holds doctors in high regard, but does not believe each will always obey the law.

Monnat asks Williams if he believes a person's prejudices (such as the doctor who was pro-life) might effect how they perceive things. Williams says "yes," but maintains he did not know that ahead of time. He was, however, refered to speak with two such doctors by Kline's office.

Williams says if he had known of the doctors' biases, he would have included them in his reports to the judge who gave the go-ahead to the inquisition.

Williams says since the investigation into Dr. Tiller was launched, he had never seen him in person until walking into court Monday to testify.

Monnat shows a chart of anonymous patients who received late-term abortions at Dr. Tiller's clinic. The youngest is 10 years old, the oldest is in her 20s. Most of the abortions were performed on non-Kansas patients. In those cases, the abortion occurred several weeks after the 22-week viability point, supporting Monnat's assertion that there are more nonresident late-term abortions than resident late-term abortions because it takes longer for out-of-state patients to get to Kansas. Those who lived in-state and had late-term abortions had them closer to the 22-week point than the nonresident patients.

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Update - Tuesday, 11:00am

After a 15 minute recess, court resumes with Williams on the stand.

Williams and Monnat discuss the requirements of abortion providers when it comes to reporting laws.

Monnat says Tiller was not required to report every abortion to SRS, but that he was required to report - and did report - every abortion to KDHE. Monnat says in cases where child abuse was suspected, SRS was notified.

But Williams disagrees, and says if that was the case, SRS should have received 249 reports following the number of under-aged abortions provided in Kansas from 2001-2003. Williams, as part of Kline's office, understood the law to require all sexual activities of minors to be reported as abuse.

Monnat says under former AG Bob Stephan, the law was interpreted as such so that an underage male and female having consensual sex was not deemed "abuse" and did not require reporting. Monnat says this was the understanding all reporting agencies, including Tiller, were operating under until Kline's administration.

In a 2004 affidavit, Williams quoted Peter Brownlie, Chief Exec. Officer of Planned Parenthood of Kansas, as saying "cases of girls who seek to end pregnancies resulting from consensual sex need not be reported." Williams believed Brownlie's position was contrary to established law. He said it demonstrated a deliberate intent not to comply with the law. Brownlie went on to say any case showing evidence of abuse would be reported, as required.

During Williams' investigation, he says he came to hear of Wichita described as the "Abortion Capital of the World." Tiller's clinic is one of only two late-term abortion locations in the country.

In an affidavit, Williams says he found a stastical anomaly regarding abortions in Kansas that he could not resolve. It was found that of the 1690 abortions performed at 22 weeks or more, 1069 (or 63%) of the fetuses were determined to be viable, while 621 (or 37%) were determined to be non-viable.

Further review discovered that only 35 (or 22%) of the fetuses carried by Kansas residents were found to be viable, compared to a total of 1034 (or 67%) of the fetuses carried by non-residents.

He also found that from 2001 to 2003, there were 35,945 abortions recorded. Of that number, 18,862 involved residents of Kansas. The remainder, or 17,862 abortions, involved out-of-state residents.

Further review noted there were 1690 abortions performed at 22-weeks or more in gestation. Kansas residents received 158 (or 9%) of the total, while nonresidents received 1532 (or 91%) of viable abortions.

Williams says he couldn't figure out why the proportions of out-of-state viable abortions were so much higher than in-state viable abortions.

Monnat says the numbers of Kansas residents receiving a late term abortions was low. Furthermore, most Kansas late-term abortions were performed on non-viable fetuses. Monnat says laws limiting late-term abortions in other states could easily account for why more nonresident late term abortions were performed at Tiller's office. Travel expenses and delays in getting out-of-state or out-of-country patients to Wichita could also factor into the numbers.

Court is in recess for lunch until 1:30. Williams will be on the stand again this afternoon.

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Update - Tuesday, 9:00am

Tom Williams is on the stand. Williams was a special agent in Kline's office and filed the first affidavit that opened the investigation into Tiller's practice in Oct. 2003.

Defense attorney Dan Monnat continues laying the groundwork for his claim that charges against Tiller should be dismissed or evidence in the case suppressed. Monnat contends Kline's office was overzealous, going after Dr. Tiller when there was no credible evidence or complaint that he had broken the law -- only allegations from abortion opponents.

Williams says the investigation began after it came to light there was a discrepancy in the number of child abuse cases reported by SRS and by Sedgwick County. Williams says the inquisition began to try to find out why the numbers were in conflict.

Monnat says the discrepancy in numbers was a result of inaccuracies in the SRS report and not a result of an under-reporting problem.

The statistics showed that statewide, SRS reported a total of 1042 cases of child abuse from 2002 to 2003. But records obtained from the Sedgwick County DA's office showed 1,884 reports of child sex abuse alone. Williams says it was valid to assume there was a vast under-reporting problem based on the fact the state numbers were significantly below the numbers of Sedgwick County alone.

Williams says when he went back to SRS a second time, the abuse reports came back and showed nearly 20,000 cases statewide, much more in line with what the first set of numbers should have shown. This was 8 days after the inquisition was opened.

Williams says he did not immediately go back to the judge who signed off on the inquisition to tell him the initial investigation was based on flawed numbers. In fact, a concentrated investigation into the new reports showed most were duplicate copies, and that in reality - there were only about 6,500 reports of abuse.

Of all the records obtained, hundreds came from Sedgwick, Shawnee, Wyandotte and Johnson counties. Of those, 90 were deemed to involve circumstances of sexual abuse that resulted in pregnancy and/or abortion. Four of the records showed the reporter to the state was an abortion clinic. Williams said in an affidavit that was a paltry number given the KDHE recorded 166 abortions involving patients under 15 years of age, and more than 4,000 abortions involving patients 15-19 years old.

In May of 2004, Williams subpoenaed the KDHE for records relative to abortions performed in Kansas from 2001-2003. These reports contained the age of the women; the date of the abortion; their city, state and county; level of education; race and ethnicity. Tiller's defense team contends that although names of abortion patients were not present, there was still enough information available to help identify them. Part of Tiller's claim has long been that this investigation invaded the privacy rights of patients.

The reports showed that there were 249 abortions on girls 15 and under during those three years.

Assistant Attorney General Barry Disney interjects at one point, saying all Monnat is doing is regurgitating information in memos and affidavit's which nobody objects to. He says Monnat is wasting time.


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