Gosnell's wife jailed for her role in 'house of horrors'

by Leigh Jones
Posted 5/30/13, 11:29 am

Two of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s former employees, including his wife, Pearl, received sentences Wednesday for their role in his “house of horrors” abortion center.

The court showed mercy to one and passed judgment on the other.

“You chose to be his partner in life,” Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner told Pearl Gosnell. “And you chose to be his partner in this operation masquerading as a medical facility.”

Lerner sentenced Pearl Gosnell to another seven to 23 months in prison. She must serve at least four more months, in addition to the three she served after her 2011 arrest. Gosnell pleaded guilty to helping her husband perform illegal, third-trimester abortions, including one on a 14-year-old girl who was 31 weeks pregnant.

During the sentencing hearing, Gosnell lashed out at her husband, calling him a “coward” for dragging his family through the lengthy trial. Kermit Gosnell, 72, turned down a plea deal that would have spared his wife prison time and allowed her and their teenage daughter to remain in their house.

Earlier this month, a jury sentenced Kermit Gosnell to three consecutive life sentences for the murder of three babies born alive after attempted abortions. Gosnell killed the babies by slicing through their spinal chords with scissors.

“By choosing to take the cowardly course that he did, my husband has left me to make the apologies,” Gosnell told the judge. “My husband is in jail forever, which is where he should be.”

While Lerner chastised Pearl Gosnell for her choices, he showed leniency to another of her husband’s employees. Adrienne Moton pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and testified against Kermit Gosnell. Moton admitted to killing a baby born alive in a toilet. After the infant struggled for several minutes, Moton used a pair of scissors to cut its neck.

But Lerner said the 36-year-old friend of Gosnell’s daughter had endured enough punishment, crediting her with remorse and redemption. Lerner freed Moton on probation, after she had served 28 months in prison.

“I don’t feel I got arrested,” she told Lerner. “I feel I got rescued.”

Moton provided a key piece of evidence used in Gosnell’s trial—a photograph of an aborted baby taken with her cell phone. The child was so large prosecutors allege it was born at about 30 weeks gestation. Pennsylvania bans abortion after 24 weeks.

Lerner postponed sentencing for several other Gosnell employees pending the outcome of a federal drug case. Prosecutors initially launched an investigation into Gosnell’s abortion practice after officers executing a drug raid discovered filthy conditions inside the West Philadelphia facility. Gosnell and several of his employees are charged with selling painkillers to addicts and drug dealers.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Lerner described Gosnell as a manipulator and “charismatic sociopath.” Defense lawyer Stephen Patrizio, who represents former Gosnell worker Lynda Williams, called him “a depraved, parasitic hustler.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.

Read more from this writer