Holy spirit

Holy Spirit guided removal of notorious abortionist, detective says – Catholic Philly

Kermit Barron Gosnell, sentenced to three life terms for the deaths of three infants and a woman at his West Philadelphia abortion clinic – as well as 30 years on illegal drug charges – is pictured in an undated Philadelphia Police Department photo ID. (CNS photo / Philadelphia Police Department handout)

Ten years after a grand jury report revealed a notorious Philadelphia abortionist, the lead detective in the case said he was led by the Holy Spirit – and that he is more determined than ever to protect the unborn child.

“Life is life, and it begins at conception,” said Montgomery County Detective James Wood, who grew up in the former Blessed Sacrament Parish in Philadelphia and is currently an active member of a another archdiocesan parish.

“A baby mass grave” for all to see

In 2010, Wood was part of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigation Unit, a mission that unwittingly brought him face to face with Dr. Kermit Gosnell, whose Women’s Medical Center at 3801 Lancaster Avenue. served as a “mass grave,” according to a January 2011 grand jury report.

The facility (which included a family practice on the second floor) also served as a pill mill, with Gosnell writing hundreds of thousands of fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone, alprazolam and codeine.

As Wood and his colleagues began to draw closer to Gosnell’s drug trafficking, other agencies and institutions have repeatedly turned a blind eye to the abortionist operation, including the Department of Health and the Department of State of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and National Abortion Federation.

Such a “complete collapse of the regulations” was called by the grand jury – whose members had “a range of personal beliefs” about abortion – “inexcusable”.

“We think the reason no one took action was because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants with no identity, and because the topic was the political football of abortion.” , the report said, adding that Gosnell (who hid hundreds of thousands of cash in his neighboring house) “ran a criminal enterprise, motivated by greed.”

For decades, complaints had poured in about the facility’s deplorable conditions and unqualified staff – none of whom, other than Gosnell himself, were licensed or certified. Blankets, furniture and floors stained with blood and cat urine in space, while disposable medical supplies were reused and vital equipment was typically broken. The two flea-eaten felines in the center defecated in rooms and hallways too narrow for first responders to access with stretchers.

And throughout the building, stored in cupboards, bags, plastic jugs and cat food containers, were the remains of discarded infants – some in pieces, others intact (including a 19-week-old baby). in the freezer), and all crammed for months in a row, as Gosnell often did not pay for allowed disposal.

The building that housed the former Women’s Medical Center, an abortion clinic and a “pill mill” operated by Kermit Gosnell in West Philadelphia can be seen in this undated photo. (Google Maps)

Despite the filth and stench, a steady stream of low-income female clients, mostly black and Asian, from several states have requested late abortions at the office, with Gosnell and his team manipulating the ultrasound data to make it appear that the babies were past the 24th. week legal limit. The grand jury later found that most clients’ pregnancies were “considerably more advanced.”

While relaxing at home, Gosnell instructed his untrained staff to administer inaccurate and dangerous mixtures of potent drugs to induce labor and prolong sedation. In the evening, when the women were about to give birth, he would arrive at the clinic to complete the abortions – often by severing the babies’ spinal cord with scissors, a practice Gosnell called “snipping” in order to “secure the abortion. death of the fetus ”.

A staff member said Gosnell joked that a little boy was “big enough to walk to the bus stop”.

“Kill the baby outside or inside the womb”

As an abortionist, Gosnell didn’t see his approach as unconventional, Wood said, because he was largely incompetent as a doctor.

In what became the “Mother’s Day Massacre” of May 1972, Gosnell used an unregulated experimental device to end the pregnancies of 15 women who were bused to his clinic from Chicago. Although they suffered serious complications, Gosnell was not charged, and after moving for a time to the Bahamas and then to New York, he resumed his practice in Philadelphia, specializing in late abortions that left dozens of infected and marked clients.

In 2002, a 22-year-old woman died of sepsis after Gosnell perforated her uterus; the case was settled without charge or disciplinary action.

“Her thought process was, ‘I don’t really know how to do an operation inside the woman, so what’s the difference between killing the baby outside or inside the womb? “, Said Wood. “I think he believed that since it was already okay for him to (do abortions), he wasn’t adding anything different from what was going on (in other abortion clinics) anyway. “

Even when Karnamaya Mongar, 41, a Bhutanese refugee who did not speak English, died of a fatal overdose of Demerol in November 2009, Gosnell (who delayed calling doctors and falsified reports to authorities) continued to operate his business as usual.

That is, until the Holy Spirit broke the matter a few months later, said Wood.

God on the beat

Narcotics officers “are always trying to hit the snake’s head,” said the longtime law enforcement officer, who began his career as a “summer cop” in Ocean City, New York. Jersey and entered the Philadelphia Police Department at the age of 22.

On May 24, 2013, John Stanton of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, Joe Varallo of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Peggy Collins of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish and Pat Neary of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish pray outside family planning. Clinic in Warminster. Then Archbishop Charles Chaput called for a day of prayer and presence in response to the trial and conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. (Photo by Sarah Webb)

But with Gosnell, the investigation was hampered by the lack of a solid informant who could provide crucial details that surveillance alone could not provide.

Finally, “we caught this kid in Fishtown who was an opioid addict and a trafficker,” Wood said.

Rather than arranging a secret purchase, Wood was inspired to simply confront the youngster directly with his supplier. After stopping him for running a red light, Wood acted according to his “spur of the moment” strategy.

“I said, ‘Look, we know you’re selling and we know who you’re getting it from,’ he said. “And I said to him, ‘You have two choices: you can go to jail, or you can cooperate.’ And he cooperated.

This informant led Wood and his colleagues to Latosha Lewis, an employee at Women’s Medical Center who processed the fake prescriptions.

“The moment we caught Latosha she admitted her responsibility and she knew what was going on there was wrong,” Wood said. “Then she went further and told us about Karnamaya Mongar, who had passed away. “

Unable to find the awaited police report on the death, Wood went to the Philadelphia medical examiner’s office. Mongar’s toxicology report showed high levels of Demerol used at Women’s Medical Center for anesthesia.

In response, Wood’s fellow investigator, DEA agent Stephen Dougherty, invited the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania State Department to accompany officers on a Feb. 18, 2010 raid at the clinic – the first time in over 15 years a member of either agency had visited the site.

Wood, Dougherty, FBI agent Jason Huff and their fellow officers were dismayed by what they found out, especially since the three main agents (all Catholics) were “against abortions,” Wood said.

After the raid, authorities rushed to shut down the clinic and suspend Gosnell’s medical license. A grand jury has been summoned; Gosnell, his wife Pearl (who also worked at the clinic) and his staff faced a multitude of charges relating to both abortion operations and drug trafficking.

In May 2013, Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder in the death of three babies, manslaughter in the death of Mongar, and 229 violations of abortion regulations in Pennsylvania. Less than two months later, he was convicted of the drug charges, which added 30 years to the three life sentences he received in the abortion case.

Wood said he was still amazed by this initial impulse to give the Fishtown drug dealer an ultimatum, and “how quickly (the case) evolved” once the narcotics investigation revealed Gosnell’s abortion operation.

“It was the Holy Spirit who guided me,” he said. “That’s what’s really mysterious to me – Gosnell was on the radar for years for prescribing OxyContin, but we didn’t have the right informant.”

Mysterious ways, not secrets

Wood, who retired from the Philadelphia force in 2011, said he continues to feel the same spiritual support in his work for Montgomery County.

“I really feel that I have the Holy Spirit and Saint Michael (the Archangel) guarding me,” he said. “And that understanding of the Holy Ghost… only increases as you get older. “

In particular, the rosary became central in her prayer life – thanks to another piece of advice from heaven.

With the Gosnell case gaining national attention through media and a 2018 feature film, Wood was invited to speak at a New York State Catholic school named after St. Louis de Montfort. To prepare, Wood researched the saint and ended up purchasing copies of Montfort’s “Secret of the Rosary” for himself and the students.

“You are guided to different places,” he said. “I would never have been so interested in the rosary if I had not leaned over Montfort. “

The “simple rosary prayers… sum up everything about Jesus dying for our sins and his mother,” Wood said. “As soon as you understand how much Mary goes to God for us and how she intervened for us, you realize that the Rosary should not be a secret, but should be exposed – like abortion.”

Wood added that he cannot understand “how you could ever say that you are Catholic and okay with abortion”.

Yet he remains both hopeful and prayerful despite the recently inaugurated President Joe Biden’s adoption of that position, underscored by pledges to support federal law legalizing abortion if the Roe v. Wade is canceled.

“God works in mysterious ways,” said Wood.