Planned Parenthood Faces New Allegations Involving Abuse of Minors
A Colorado lawsuit and a new Live Action video spotlight the abortion provider’s controversial provision of services to young girls.
DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers told the Register he will have attorneys review the video of a Colorado Planned Parenthood employee coaching a woman pretending to be a 15-year-old girl to engage in dangerous sexual activity, to buy goods from an adult sex store and view and read pornography.
The Live Action video was released this month just as a lawsuit, filed in early July, charges Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains with failing to report the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl by her stepfather. The man took the girl to a Denver abortion business and paid for an abortion on May 3, 2012.
The suit claims four Planned Parenthood employees failed to ask how the girl became pregnant or to inquire about the nature of her relationship with the man. The suit, filed by the girl’s mother, says the victim had been sexually abused for seven years.
It claims Planned Parenthood employees sent the girl back home with the man, who continued raping her. The stepfather, Timothy David Smith, was sentenced to prison in late 2012, after pleading guilty to two felony counts in connection with sexually abusing the child.
Though Colorado law requires health-care providers to report suspicion of sexual abuse to authorities, the suit alleges Planned Parenthood knew the girl’s age and failed to contact her mother, law enforcement or child protective services.
“Planned Parenthood employees are supposed to be mandatory reporters when they have any reason to suspect sexual abuse of a child,” said Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue. “When you are 13 years old, you cannot legally consent. So the fact she shows up pregnant, with an older man, should create suspicion of sexual abuse. They had the opportunity to intervene, and, instead, they sent her home for more abuse with the rapist.”
No criminal charges have been filed yet against Planned Parenthood authorities in connection with the case.
“We certainly are concerned with and follow up on mandatory reporting cases,” Lynn Kimbrough, communications director for Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, commented to the Register July 24. “The process, though, would involve someone filing a criminal complaint. The simple fact of someone filing a civil suit that includes that allegation would not be enough, because we don’t go trolling into the civil courts looking for criminal violations.”
But, Kimbrough added, “If someone were to make a complaint, by all means it would be investigated and reviewed for criminal charges. I don’t know if it would be us or the DPD [Denver Police Department], but there would be an investigation.”
The girl’s attorney, Beth Klein of Boulder, has declined to comment on the case.
The Live Action Video
The Colorado video bolsters allegations that Planned Parenthood officials ignore and violate laws intended to protect minors. Though the video reveals a Planned Parenthood worker encouraging a girl, who told the counselor she is 15, to shop at a sex store, a local ordinance prohibits minors from entering adult sex shops.
The Colorado video is the second time since June LiveAction.org has alleged that a Planned Parenthood worker has been counseling a girl, self-identified as 15, to examine pornography and engage in sexually deviant and dangerous behavior. The first video, published June 11, was at a Planned Parenthood branch in Indianapolis. Planned Parenthood receives federal funds designated for sexual education of teenagers.
In the Colorado video, published on YouTube July 15, a Planned Parenthood worker in the Denver suburb of Littleton tells a girl the novel Fifty Shades of Grey contains whipping, asphyxiation and tying up. When the girl asks why anyone would want that, the Planned Parenthood worker explains:
“Some men just get some type of pleasure out of it. Some women get pleasure out of it,” she says.
“If my boyfriend and I, if we wanted to, like, try that out, um, like, where should we start with that?” the girl asks.
“I think it would be helpful if you guys read the book, to be honest,” the worker advises.
The woman goes on to tell the girl that some fetishes that involve men being humiliated by women “can be really fun, you know?”
“Have you guys ever gone to a sex shop together?” the woman asks.
“No,” the girl answers.
“Okay, so you could,” the woman replies.
“There [are] tons of sex shops around here. They have whips, ties, everything.”
Advice on Hiding Porn From Parents
The woman goes on to encourage the girl to watch porn videos with her older boyfriend, but to be careful of viruses — on her computer.
After the girl expresses concern about her parents potentially finding out about porn, the Planned Parenthood worker advises her on methods of hiding it from them.
After describing other sexual behavior, she adds, “There’s some cool stuff out there that’s really interesting.”
The Planned Parenthood worker tells the girl to have a “safe word,” such as “dog,” because “there can be, like, tying and gagging involved.”
“Can you say, like, ‘Stop’? Or like …” the girl asks.
“Well, those can kinda get, like, mixed up when you’re having intercourse,” the woman explains. “Some guys, they don’t know: Does she really mean ‘Stop’? Or does she mean, you know, whatever. … If you’re gagged or something, and you can’t say that word, you need to be able to do something to let him know.”
The video cuts to audio from a 911 call in January from a mother in Glendale, Ariz., after her 16-year-old daughter strangled a sex partner to death during a sex game. The girl, Jessica Burlew, was charged with the second-degree murder of her boyfriend, 43-year-old Jason Ash. Police say they were playing sex games, involving a cord the girl wrapped around the man’s neck, and Ash allegedly did not say their so-called “safe” word.
Though his staff will review the undercover video shot in Colorado, Suthers — a faithful Catholic — told the Register he lacks jurisdiction to do much about it in the event he suspects criminal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood.
Jurisdiction in the Littleton case falls to Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, who ran for election as a Catholic opposed to abortion. Though he would not speak with the Register, his spokeswoman responded with an email.
“I wanted to let you know that our office informed the Littleton Police Department of this matter for consideration,” said Michelle Yi, communication specialist for the district attorney.
The Littleton Police Department did not return multiple calls from the Register, nor did Planned Parenthood of the Rockies or its affiliate in Littleton.
Lila Rose, who founded LiveAction.org and orchestrated the video sting, said local authorities should press charges. She said the Colorado and Indiana videos each show a health-care worker violating the requirement to report suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor, because a 15-year-old cannot consent in either state.
Furthermore, she said, Planned Parenthood is caught advocating violent activity that can lead to injury or death.
“And they are telling girls that ‘No’ does not mean ‘No,’ which contributes to a culture of rape,” Rose told the Register. “They are blurring the lines of consent and doing so with girls who are not even old enough to lawfully grant consent.”
Planned Parenthood’s ‘Dark Corner’
Though most politicians contacted by the Register would not comment or return calls, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., who represents Colorado Springs just south of Littleton and faces a re-election challenge in the fall, said the latest Live Action videos inspire him to work even harder on his ongoing campaign to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I think most people are totally ignorant of what goes on at Planned Parenthood,” Lamborn told the Register. “Planned Parenthood and their friends on the left have done a good job of talking about things they do that help women’s health, and it all sounds totally benign and innocent, [as if] it’s all pap smears and mammograms. Most people don’t know about this dark corner of Planned Parenthood.”
And state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, posted a statement July 21 on his Facebook page denouncing Planned Parenthood for the conduct recorded in the Live Action video and alleged in the civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the 13-year-old rape victim.
“I am disgusted by the recent news concerning Planned Parenthood instructing underage girls in violent sex and [that] staffers failed to inquire or report about suspected sexual abuse of a 13-year-old after giving her an abortion,” he said. “Violence toward women is a growing problem, and we need to do everything we can to confront it. Instead, we have Planned Parenthood encouraging, promoting or covering up violent sexual treatment of women. Whatever your political leanings or cultural standing, this is something we all have to join together and condemn.”
Said Hill, “I call on local law enforcement and health officials to immediately investigate these allegations, and I urge all of the Colorado school system to cut ties with Planned Parenthood immediately until we see the results of the investigation.”
Wayne Laugesen writes from Colorado.