AG Paxton Defends State Ban on Barbaric Abortion Procedure at the 5th Circuit
AUSTIN, TX – A legal team from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling blocking part of Senate Bill 8, a law enacted by the Texas Legislature, which prohibits ghastly dismemberment abortions.
Abortion by dismemberment, which is performed in the second trimester, kills fetuses by using forceps to tear them apart limb by limb while they are still alive, causing the unborn child to bleed to death in their mother’s womb. The law does not prohibit other second-trimester abortions.
“My office’s legal team exposed the horrific truth of dismemberment abortions, a gruesome, inhumane, and barbaric procedure that completely disregards respect for human life,” Attorney General Paxton said. “During today’s arguments, we demonstrated that Senate Bill 8 is constitutional, and I’m optimistic that the 5th Circuit will uphold Texas’ lawful authority to protect unborn children from this abhorrent procedure.”
Although the U.S. Supreme Court previously held that states may pass laws to protect and foster respect for unborn life by banning inhumane abortion procedures, the U.S. District Court in Austin ruled against Senate Bill 8 the day before it was to take effect.
The Texas law was put on weeklong trial in November 2017 and the district court ruled in favor of abortion providers who challenged Senate Bill 8. Attorney General Paxton immediately filed a notice of appeal to the 5th Circuit. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit heard today’s oral arguments.
An Esteemed Doctor, Child Sexual Abuse
Claims and a Hospital That Knew for Years
For almost 30 years, parents sought out Dr. Reginald Archibald when their children would not grow. They came to his clinic at The Rockefeller University Hospital, a prominent New York research institution, where he treated and studied children who were small for their age.
He also may have sexually abused many of them.
The hospital sent a letter last month to former patients of Dr. Archibald asking about their contact with him. Ten days later, on Oct. 5, it posted a statement online saying it had evidence of the doctor’s “inappropriate” behavior with some patients and that it first had learned of credible allegations against him in 2004. The letter went out to as many as 1,000 people, said a former patient who spoke with a hospital administrator.
Dr. Archibald, an endocrinologist who spent most of his career at Rockefeller, died in 2007. His son, Larry, declined to comment. “This doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
The New York Times spoke with 17 people, most of them men, who said they were abused by Dr. Archibald when they were young boys or adolescents. Most of them learned of the possibility of other victims for the first time when they received the letter. A few, however, said they had filed complaints with the hospital or authorities in the past, but their allegations were not investigated.
“To know that they knew about this in 2004 and didn’t reach out to people, it’s absolutely outrageous,” said Matt Harris, now 58, a former patient of Dr. Archibald.
The men all described similar experiences with Dr. Archibald, who would tell them to disrobe when they were alone in his examination room. He would masturbate them or ask them to masturbate, sometimes to ejaculation.
The doctor took pictures of them, while they were naked, with a Polaroid camera, and measured their penises both flaccid and erect, the men said.
Some of the former patients said they saw Dr. Archibald only once and some went back annually for many years as subjects in his studies.
Their stories paint a picture of an esteemed doctor who wielded great authority with parents desperate to help their children and patients too young to know the difference between legitimate medical practice and molestation. The alleged abuse would have occurred in an era in which few safeguards existed for those patients.
“You are robbed of knowing what’s real and what’s not real. That’s the real cost of this thing,” said Mr. Harris, who, like many of the patients who spoke with The Times, has talked to a lawyer.
In response to questions from The Times, the hospital said in a statement Thursday that after the letters were sent, it heard from many former patients alleging abuse. The hospital said it has set up a fund to provide counseling for the victims.
“We are appalled to hear those accounts of Dr. Archibald’s reprehensible behavior. We deeply regret pain and suffering caused to any of Dr. Archibald’s former patients,” the statement read.
A hospital spokesman declined to answer questions about when the hospital first learned of the allegations and why it did not try to contact a wider array of former patients earlier.
In its earlier statement, the hospital said that in 2004, it received an allegation of “impropriety” during Dr. Archibald’s physical examinations, which it did not specify.
The hospital said it informed the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the state office that oversees medical conduct and a federal research agency. It also hired Debevoise & Plimpton, a law firm, to investigate. The inquiry turned up two additional reports dating to the 1990s.
The hospital did not say where the allegations from the 1990s were filed and what the response to them had been. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., could not immediately confirm whether the office had received the allegation from the hospital in 2004.
Earlier this year, separate allegations against Dr. Archibald were reported to the hospital, which again hired Debevoise & Plimpton.
Based on its investigation, the law firm concluded that some of Dr. Archibald’s behaviors involving these patients were inappropriate,” the statement said.
The hospital said it has scrubbed Dr. Archibald’s name from its web pages and rescinded his emeritus status.
The possibility of a large number of victims could pose a serious financial threat to the research institution. Under current New York law, the statute of limitations for victims to sue the hospital has long passed.
But a proposed change to the law, supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would lengthen the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges and civil suits in child sexual abuse cases, and crucially, create a one-year window in which all victims could sue, regardless of when the abuse happened. The legislation has been held up in the State Senate and is vigorously opposed by institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church, which has argued that the one-year window could lead to catastrophic financial damage.
Dr. Archibald worked as a doctor, researcher and professor at The Rockefeller University Hospital from 1941 to 1946 and again from 1948 to 1980. He kept his affiliation with the institution, as an emeritus, until 1987.
His former patients remembered him as avuncular and authoritative, with white hair as he grew older. They also remembered his strange methods. Their allegations suggest a pattern of sexual abuse from the 1950s through the 1970s among patients as young as 6 and as old as 17.
Michael Manfre, now 57, recalled Dr. Archibald asking him to masturbate when he was about 12 years old and then doing it himself. “Keep trying,” Mr. Manfre, of Massapequa, N.Y., remembered Dr. Archibald saying, encouraging him to ejaculate.
Mr. Harris, who now lives in Port Washington, N.Y., said that during a visit in the 1970s, the doctor massaged the area between his testes and anus, asking if it felt good.
Many of Dr. Archibald’s patients were short for their age, and their parents worried about the teasing and shame they might experience in school if they hit puberty years behind their peers.
Dr. Archibald was known as a growth specialist who administered hormones, such as testosterone, which he hypothesized could help spur puberty and increase the height children would reach. To better understand children’s growth and create a control group, he often had siblings come to the clinic, former patients said.
Taking measurements of boys’ genitals when doctors were concerned about delayed puberty was considered normal until the 1980s or 1990s, said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan. But doing so when they were erect, asking them to masturbate, particularly while the doctor was present, was not considered acceptable, even at that time, he said.
Nearly every victim remembered having to strip naked, stand against a wall and hold their palms out facing forward while Dr. Archibald took photographs. One patient provided a copy of a release signed by that person’s mother giving Rockefeller permission to photograph her child “for the advancement of medical science.”
At least two articles published by Dr. Archibald contain pictures of naked boys in the stance described by these victims. One of those articles also contains close-ups of the boys’ genitals.
While almost every alleged victim said the abuse occurred in the doctor’s examination room, one described a dark encounter far away from the hospital. A 58-year-old Brooklyn man said he believed Dr. Archibald raped him on a trip to the doctor’s Canadian summer home.
The former patient, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John, because of the nature of the alleged assault, said Dr. Archibald watched him masturbate during examinations at the hospital. But one summer, when he was about 13, the doctor convinced his parents to let John accompany him to the house.
One of Dr. Archibald’s former neighbors in Pelham, N.Y., who visited the lake, recalled that every year Dr. Archibald would take a young boy to help prepare the wooden cabins for his family’s visit.
John said Dr. Archibald tried to shower with him at a motel on the two-day trip to the house but he ran out of the bathroom. Once they arrived, John said, he believed Dr. Archibald drugged and raped him. He angrily insisted on being taken home, he said.
Dr. Archibald spent only two years of his career away from Rockefeller when, in 1946, he took a job at Johns Hopkins University.
It is unknown how many children participated in Dr. Archibald’s studies.
He maintained records of an estimated 9,000 patients who visited him and other doctors at Rockefeller, according to one victim who said she met with a hospital official and three attorneys representing the hospital in September.
That victim said those attorneys and Dr. Barry Coller, the hospital’s physician in chief, told her that the hospital sent letters to more than 1,000 former patients they were able to identify and locate.
The hospital would not comment on how many former patients received a letter.
Wagoner County Couple In Jail Accused Of Abusing 5-Month-Old Child
WAGONER COUNTY, OK – A Wagoner County couple is in Jail tonight accused of child abuse against a 5-month-old girl.
Kassidy Sump and her boyfriend Axton Chancellor are facing child abuse charges.
Investigators say the brutal assault against the 5-month-old baby girl happened at their home in Coweta.
An affidavit says the couple, along with the child’s grandparents took the baby to the hospital. Sheriff Chris Elliott says the couple originally told doctors the child fell off the bed a month ago. But he says the baby had injuries consistent with abuse with a broken arm, clavicle, a fractured skull and bruising around the face and mouth.
“This baby was so severely injured they transported the baby by ambulance to the main saint Francis hospital located in Tulsa,” said Sheriff Elliott.
The affidavit goes on to say Chancellor admitted to pulling the baby’s arm until he heard a popping sound, dropping her on the floor, and grabbing her face hard enough to cause the bruising. He told investigators he did this all because the baby was crying.
“This is a very disturbing case from my investigators. This is a 5-and-a-half-month-old baby that can’t protect herself. She can’t tell anybody what’s going on and we’re going to prosecute these two individuals to the fullest extent of the law,” said Sheriff Elliott.
Sheriff Elliott says Sump knew that Chancellor had possibly injured her baby girl but failed to treat her for two days. The affidavit says Sump sought out medical treatment for the baby after the injuries were discovered by the child’s grandmother.
“Everybody failed this little girl. We just didn’t know what was going on. Now that we know what’s going on, we’re going to prosecute,” said Sheriff Elliott.
The baby girl is in the hospital recovering from her injuries. The Wagoner County Sheriff Office says that child and her older sibling are now in protective custody.
Cottondale Child Sex Abuse suspect faces
Child Porn charge
TUSCALOOSA, AL – A Cottondale man with pending child sexual abuse charges has been arrested for disseminating child porn.
Agents with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s Special Victims Unit arrested James Robert Pendley, 48, on Friday. Pendley is facing one count of dissemination of child exploitation material and could face further charges, according to Lt. Brooke Walker, commander of ALEA’s Special Victims Unit and the Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Pendley is currently awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree sodomy and domestic violence. He was arrested on May 10, 2017, and charged with first-degree sodomy and one count of third-degree domestic violence/assault, a misdemeanor.
According to court records, Pendley is accused of shoving and pushing a family member who caught him abusing a 6-year-old boy in the bathroom of his residence on North Davis Road on May 4, 2017. A grand jury later indicted Pendley on five felony counts of first-degree sodomy against victims who were 12, 6 and 2 at the time of his arrest.
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Al May revoked Pendley’s bond Friday, at the request of the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office.
The Special Victims Unit was assisted by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Northport Police, the Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force, Alabama State Troopers, ALEA Tactical team and members of the SBI’s Alcohol and Narcotics division while conducting the child pornography investigation.
Chicago mom tried to drown son, 3, days
after posting online that he had died: police
CHICAGO, IL – Authorities in Chicago this week said a South Side mother falsely wrote on social media that her 3-year-old son had died, then tried to drown him in a bathtub days later.
Celeste T. Christian, 21, was charged with attempted murder as her son remained hospitalized in critical condition, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The child was being treated at University of Chicago Medical Center for asphyxiation and water in his lungs. Police said someone had held the toddler underwater.
Christian told police the child had wet himself after the father dropped him off, and gave him a bath. She claimed she left her son by himself for five to 10 minutes to check on her 2-year-old daughter.
She heard splashing and ran back to the bathroom to find the boy limp in the water, with foam coming out his nose and mouth, and called 911.
An hour before the child arrived at the hospital, a doctor received a call from an organ and tissue donor asking if the boy was there yet, police said. The donor did not reveal who told them the toddler would be there.
When police interviewed the child’s father, he told them Christian had earlier announced on social media that their son had died and wanted to make funeral plans, the paper reported.
Christian was arrested and held without bail at Cook County Jail.