PHILADELPHIA — An abortion doctor has been arrested and charged with the murders of a patient and seven live infants whose spines were severed with scissors at a Philadelphia clinic that has been described as a house of horrors, officials said Wednesday.
District Attorney Seth Williams said the doctor, Kermit P. Gosnell, was charged following a grand jury investigation.
Gosnell, 69, lost his medical license last year after health officials determined his clinic posed "a clear danger to the public."
Gosnell was arrested Wednesday morning, officials said. He has maintained his innocence.
The seven infants were born alive in the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy and killed by severing their spinal cords with scissors, William said.
Gosnell is charged with third-degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who died Nov. 20, 2009, after receiving an overdose of anesthetics prescribed by the physician,
Gosnell's wife and eight employees of his clinic also have been arrested.
A search of Gosnell's Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia in March revealed that bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses were scattered throughout the building, William said,
The doctor himself was seldom present and in his absence, untrained, unsupervised workers, including a teenage girl, routinely injected dangerous sedatives into women undergoing illegal late-term abortions, Williams said.
Law enforcement officers discovered the abuses while investigating tips that the doctor had been illegally selling thousands of prescriptions for OxyContin and other narcotics.
"I am aware that abortion is a hot-button topic," Williams said. "But as district attorney, my job is to carry out the law. A doctor who knowingly and systematically mistreats female patients, to the point that one of them dies in his so-called care, commits murder under the law."
"A doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is committing murder under the law," he said.
Also charged were:
—Lynda Williams, 42, of Wilmington, Del. Third-degree murder in death of the patient and murder in the death of live infant.
—Sherry West, 51, of Newark, Del. Third-degree murder in the death of the patient, performing illegal abortions, conspiracy, racketeering, tampering with records, hindering prosecution, obstructing administration of law and other related offenses.
—Adrienne Moton, 33, of Upper Darby, Pa. Murder for the death of a live infant, conspiracy and racketeering.
—Steven Massof, 48, of Pittsburgh. Murder for the deaths of two viable babies born alive, conspiracy, theft by deception, racketeering and other related charges.
—Elizabeth Hampton, 51, of Philadelphia. Gosnell's sister-in-law, she is charged with obstruction, hindering prosecution and perjury,
—Eileen O'Neill, 54, of Phoenixville, Pa. A medical school graduate who worked as doctor at the clinic without a license or certification, she is charged with theft by deception, conspiracy, racketeering and perjury.
—Tina Baldwin, of Philadelphia. An unlicensed worker, she is charged with racketeering, conspiracy, and corruption of a minor for allegedly allowing her 15-year-old daughter to administer anesthesia to patients.
—Pearl Gosnell, 49, of Philadelphia. Gosnell's wife, she is charged with performing abortion at 24 or more weeks, conspiracy and other related offenses.
—Maddline Joe, 53, of Philadelphia. The office manager, she is charged with conspiracy.
(This story was compiled by the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer.)