Entries in pregnancy (9)


Gang Leader Impregnates Four Female Prison Guards

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Four female correction officers were impregnated by the reported leader of a Maryland prison gang, which used a network of female prison guards to help launder money, run drugs and smuggle contraband into state detention facilities, according to a federal indictment.

One of the guards was twice impregnated by Tavon White, identified in court papers as the alleged leader of the Black Guerilla Family.

Two of the female correction officers tattooed "Tavon" on their bodies, one on her neck and another on the wrist, according to the indictment.

In one incident, one guard kept watch over a closet, in which White and another guard had sex, according to authorities.

Thirteen female and two male prison guards are facing federal corruption charges following a months-long investigation into corruption and conspiracy at Maryland's correctional facilities.

The indictment portrays a prison system run by inmates, including members of the Black Guerilla Family gang.

"This is my jail," White, who is awaiting trial for attempted murder, bragged on a tapped phone call from the Baltimore City Detention Center. "I make every final call in this jail."

The FBI spared few words for the leadership of the prisons, in which inmates used smuggled cell phones to arrange drug deals, as well as order assaults and murders outside the jail, according to the indictment.

White "effectively raised the BGF flag over the Baltimore City Detention Center," FBI Special Agent Stephen Vogt said in a statement.

"The inmates literally took over 'the asylum,' and the detention centers became safe havens for BGF," Vogt said.

A total of 15 guards, seven inmates and five gang members were indicted in the conspiracy, according to the FBI.

Inmates bought contraband and gifts for guards, including luxury cars, using reloadable debit cards.

Guards smuggled contraband in their underwear, using entrances where they knew they would not be thoroughly screened, the indictment states.

The Black Guerilla Family began in California in the 1960s but has since spread across the country. Gang members first appeared in Maryland prisons in the 1990s.

"Ninety-nine percent of our correctional officers do their jobs with integrity, honesty, and respect," said Secretary Gary Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

According to Maynard, 60 percent of all correction officers in Maryland are women.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rep. Akin Shouldn’t Be in Office, Planned Parenthood Head Says

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced Rep. Todd Akin’s comment that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” saying this morning that the statement was an “egregious example” of legislators “making policy on women’s health without understanding it.”

“This statement by Mr. Akin is, I think, politics at its worst, ignoring basic medicine and science in pursuit of some political ideology,” Richards said today during a conference call with reporters.

Richards stopped short of calling for Akin to resign, noting that he joins a “long line of examples” of congressmen who are putting their “own personal political ideology ahead of the needs of women.”

“I don’t want to address whether he should resign, but I don’t think he should be in office,” she said in response to a question from ABC News. “This is more evidence of when policy makers are literally legislating about women’s health and they don’t have the most basic understanding particularly of women’s reproductive care. This is perfect evidence of that enormous danger.”

Richards addressed the Akin controversy during a conference call announcing that Planned Parenthood will use the $3 million in public donations it received the week that the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced it was pulling funding for the group on breast cancer screenings and educational outreach.

Akin, who is opposed to abortions in all cases including rape, said Sunday on the Jaco Report radio show.

“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said in response to a question about supporting legal abortions for rape victims. “If it’s a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something,” Akin continued. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, not attacking the child.”

Akin said today that he “misspoke” and has “deep empathy” for rape victims.

In the 24 hours following Akin’s remarks even staunch abortion opponents have condemned his comments. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dubbed Akin’s remarks “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” in an interview with the National Review this morning.

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Wisc., said Akin should resign from his Missouri Senate race where he is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taser Pain May Be Considered by Supreme Court as Excessive Force

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Seattle police officers say they chose one of the safest tools in their arsenal when they used a Taser gun against a pregnant woman resisting arrest.

Before using the device one officer asked, "Well where do you want to do it?" according to court papers. Another counseled, "Well, don't do it in her stomach, do it in her thigh."

The woman, who was 60 days from her due date, was tased three times in less than a minute.

A lawyer for the woman says the officers used excessive force.

"The officers put thousands of volts of electricity through my client causing her tremendous pain," says Michael F. Williams of Kirkland and Ellis. "The concept that officers can cause tremendous pain on a suspect over a trivial offense is completely alien to our Constitution."

On Thursday, the Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors and discuss whether to take up the issue.

The case stems from a 2004 traffic stop. Malaika Brooks was pulled over by Officer Juan Ornelas, who informed her that she was going 32 miles per hour in a 20-mile-per-hour school zone. He issued a speeding violation.

Court papers describe the following scenario:

Brooks denied that she had been speeding and said she would not sign the citation because she believed that her signature would amount to an admission of guilt. Ornelas told her that she was mistaken, but that her failure to sign would subject her to arrest under state law. She continued to refuse to sign. Eventually two other officers came to the scene, Brooks was told she was under arrest, and she was ordered out of the car. Again, she refused to get out of the car.

"I have to go to the bathroom, I am pregnant, I'm less than 60 days from having my baby," she told the officers. The officers told her if she did not obey orders, she would be subject to the Taser device. They then conferred about using the Taser on a pregnant woman.

In court papers the officers say they knew from training and experience that the use of the Taser in drive-stun mode (where a charge is delivered through two blunt contact probes) would provide localized pain without risk of lasting physical injury and that it would have no adverse effect on a pregnant woman.

Eventually Officer Ornelas opened the driver's side door, and twisted Brooks' arm up behind her back. Officer Donald Jones applied the Taser to Brooks' left thigh, at which point she shouted and honked the horn, but continued to refuse to get out. Thirty-six seconds later he applied it to her left arm, and six seconds later he applied it to her neck.

Finally, the officers managed to drag her out and handcuff her. She was seen by a doctor before she was taken to King County Jail. Brooks was eventually convicted for failing to sign a speeding ticket.

Her healthy baby girl was born in January 2005.

She sued the police officers for excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

Last year a federal appeals court sided with Brooks in ruling that her claims constituted a constitutional violation.

Although the court found a constitutional violation on the facts presented to it, it ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity from Brooks' constitutional claim because the law was "not sufficiently clear at the time of the incident."

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski disagreed strongly with the majority's conclusion that the use of the Taser gun qualified as excessive force.

"Bull Pucky!" Kozinski wrote in his 2011 partial dissent. He pointed out that Brooks had been resisting arrest and that the officers had chosen the safest tool in their arsenal to deal with the woman's defiance.

He chastised the majority for counting the seconds between tasings and finding that the rapid succession provided no time for her to recover. "Although Brooks claims she was 'scared' and 'in shock" after the initial tasing, she also admits that she began yelling for help and honking her horn with a "deliberate decision to continue her defiance," Kozinski wrote.

Both Brooks and the officers have appealed the case to the Supreme Court. Brooks wants the court to find that the officers should not be immune from her suit, and the officers want the justices to overrule the lower court on the constitutional violation.

The officers say they need guidance from the Supreme Court. In court papers their lawyers write that the appeals court "abolished application of a useful pain compliance technique without describing why the technique was unreasonable and without evaluating or even discussing alternatives that the officers could have used to reasonably effect their lawful duties."

Each side cites a 1989 Supreme Court decision regarding the use of excessive force that said such cases should be analyzed using an "objective reasonableness standard." The court held that "the 'reasonableness' of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight."

But experts think the court might be reluctant to take up the Taser case.

"This case looks very dramatic on its facts," says Robert Weisberg of Stanford Law School. "But that doesn't mean it's a very good case for the court to take." Weisberg notes that both parties have filed petitions asking for the court to step in and that there is no decision below imposing damages.

"The Supreme Court might say, 'This is procedurally too weird a situation to be the right vehicle for us to say something about Tasers,'" Weisberg says. "I think the court is likely to view Tasers as a legitimate means of inflicting non-lethal force. If so, it may find it impractical to declare a constitutional rule about when Taser use is okay and when it isn't because the legitimacy of Taser use may just depend on the situation. If so, the court's view might be, 'we don't want to treat Tasers differently from other non lethal means of force' therefore it's not desirable to have a rule for Tasers. The rules governing Tasers will be the general rules governing excessive force and therefore we don't want to make a constitutional doctrine out of Tasers."

He says in general that lower courts have tended to defer to police on the use of Tasers, but there have been a few cases where a person has won a lawsuit against police, where the Taser use was arguably unnecessary and where it happened to inflict serious harm.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


911 Workers Fired for Being Pregnant?

Hemera/Thinkstock(FULTON COUNTY, Ga.) -- Two former Fulton County 911 operator trainees plan to sue Georgia’s Fulton County, claiming they were fired for being pregnant.

One of the women secretly recorded a conversation she said she had with the director of the Emergency Communications Center, during which she asked for her job back after being fired.

In the recording obtained by ABC News, a person identified as department director Angela Barrett repeatedly refers to Que'ana Morris' "situation" as the reason for her firing.

"I understand you have a situation. All I'm doing is giving you time to rectify your situation, and then you can come back when you can come to work," Barrett tells Morris on the tape.

Morris says in the two months before she was fired, she missed 16 days of work on doctor's orders over complications with her pregnancy. She says she had permission to miss those days for medical reasons, and that it only became a problem after she was already fired.

"I don't have that option to turn around and rehire you when you haven't eliminated the situation that's causing your absence," Barrett says in the recording. "According to you, you're absent because of the pregnancy. So, how am I supposed to be able to make a decision when the condition still exists?"

Barrett never specifies what she means by "rectify," but Morris told ABC affiliate WSB-TV it was clear to her that the "situation" was her pregnancy and that she couldn't continue working as long as she was still pregnant.

"I was devastated because all of my reviews were satisfactory. Nothing stated I was a bad employee," Morris said.

Morris filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the ground that she was discriminated against because of her gender, due to her pregnancy. The EEOC investigation found in her favor, and concluded she had the right to sue her former employer.

Morris and Leeneeka Bell, who says she was fired by the Emergency Communications Center after her pregnancy left her on bed rest, announced their plans to file a lawsuit after the EEOC finding. Their attorney, Lisa Millican, says this is a clear-cut case of discrimination.

"They're essentially forcing their employees to choose between keeping their jobs or having a child," Millican told ABC. "When a company has an attitude like this, it basically means a woman can't work. So if pregnancy causes you to lose your job, that sets us back 50 years."

Fulton County issued a statement saying they can't confirm the authenticity of the tape, and that they can't substantiate the women's claims.

"We stand by our statement that at no time did Fulton County take any prohibited action against the employees in question," the statement reads.

Millican says they plan to file one lawsuit on behalf of both women in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teenage Girl Hires Gang Members to Kidnap Baby in Pregnancy Lie

Comstock/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- A teenager was arrested Friday on accusations of being the mastermind of an elaborate scheme to kidnap a 2-week-old baby in Santa Ana, Calif., according to police.

Gladys Remigio, 17, was arraigned for allegedly enlisting two gang members, 20-year-old Steven Quirino and 19-year-old Robert Rodriguez, to steal her roommate's 15-day-old daughter.

The newborn's mother, who is identified only as "Norma," told police that on the morning of Nov. 29, Remigio entered her bedroom with a man armed with a gun and ordered Norma into the bathroom. Norma's other children were asleep.

Norma managed to escape when the two men fled the scene, and she found her baby outside with Remigio.

At first, the police thought that Remigio was also a victim of the robbery, because she rents a room at Norma's house with her father. But police soon learned Remigio's twisted back story.

"She's engaged to a guy who thinks that she's 8 months pregnant and working in New York City. But she's not pregnant," Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "Eight months into this lie, she's living with these people who have a 2-week old baby. So her master plan was to befriend these two hardcore gang members and have them rob the house.”

"The deal was that she would pay them a little bit of cash and they could steal her iPhone and whatever else they could find in the house," Bertagna said. “The two gang members were going to put the baby in the back of the car and Remigio was going to drive to Chula Vista, where her boyfriend lives, and live happily ever after with her fiancé and present the kidnapped baby as if she had a kid," he said.

But Quirino and Rodriguez left Remigio at the house with the baby and fled the scene.

Allegedly upset with the two gang members for leaving her behind, Remigio told police where to find one of them—at a local doughnut shop where, she says, he hangs out, Bertagna said. The police tracked him down and he is now in custody.

Remigio then headed towards San Diego County with two other unknown individuals. She called her future mother-in-law and told her that people had kidnapped her, induced labor, and were holding her baby hostage for $10,000, police said.

Remigio's future mother-in-law called the police and reported the crime.

Soon after, Remigio showed up at her future mother-in-law's house with two men, Bertagna said. The woman was surprised to see Remigio, who she thought was in New York City. The two men disappeared before police could identify them.

Remigio then allegedly shifted her story and told authorities that there was never a kidnapping, but that she had false labor and threw the baby in a trash can, police said.

The police immediately called in child abuse detectives at 9 p.m., and they searched dumpsters for the fetus until the next morning, according to the police.

When detectives couldn't find a fetus, they interviewed Remigio, who allegedly finally admitted she had been lying the whole time, according to the police.

"She said she thought she was pregnant at one point but she wasn't, and she wanted to keep her fiance," Bertagna said. "Meanwhile our robbery detectives were interviewing the suspect in custody. He said 'Woah woah woah, she's the very person who hired me.'"

The third suspect was found the following day and taken into custody.

If convicted on all charges, which include conspiracy to commit a crime, first degree residential robbery, first degree residential robbery, and street terrorism, with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity, Quirino and Rodriguez face a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

Remigio is charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit a crime, first degree residential robbery, first degree residential robbery, and attempted kidnapping with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity. She will be tried as an adult, and if she is convicted on all charges, Remigio faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Woman to Be Charged with Stealing Fetus, Killing Mother

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- A Milwaukee mother of three who allegedly faked a pregnancy is expected to be charged Monday with the murder of a pregnant woman and stealing her fetus. She is also expected be charged with the male fetus' death, authorities said.

The victim of the gruesome attack was identified as Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, 23, the mother of three children, who was just days away from giving birth.

The Milwaukee district attorney's homicide unit is reviewing the case.

"We are anticipating criminal charges to be filed at some point later today," Kent Lovern, deputy district attorney, told Monday.

The suspect, who has not been identified by police, called 911 Thursday to claim that she had given birth, but that her baby boy wasn't breathing.

"During the ensuing investigations, detectives determined that the 33-year-old suspect was not in fact the birth mother of the baby," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said at a news conference.

The baby died, and according to ABC News affiliate WISN, the suspect -- who neighbors say had claimed to be pregnant -- even fooled her boyfriend into believing the child was his.

Last week he wrote on his Facebook page, "My child was born yesterday and he died an hour after birth. He would have been so cute. My woman is shattered, she doesn't stop crying."

The suspect is the mother of three other children, neighbors said.

On Friday, police found the body of the Ramirez-Cruz in the suspect's basement.

"Evidence at the scene indicated that she had been fatally injured there and that the baby had been removed from her womb by force," said Flynn. It's unclear why Ramirez-Cruz was at the suspect's house.

Neighbors who lived near the suspect told WISN they were shocked.

Jacqueline Bonilla told WISN, "There's no way, shape or form somebody should hurt somebody else and take somebody's baby just to have one for themselves."

Neighbor Nicole Soto, interviewed while holding her 1-year-old son, had thought the suspect was pregnant.

"She was rubbing her belly all the time. She was telling everyone she was, she was getting bigger," Soto said. Keila Perez, who shares a backyard with the suspect, told the station, "It's horrible I can't even -- I can't think of it I just can't see her doing anything like that."

"She's the godmother of my daughter, she has three beautiful kids that she raised by herself and she's been basically married for four years," said Perez. "To me she's a good woman, she's never been in no problems."

Police don't believe Ramirez-Cruz knew the suspect, who likely acted alone.

The rare crime generated headlines a few years ago when a pregnant woman—also 23-years-old— was murdered in Worcester, Mass. Her baby was later found alive in a New Hampshire hospital.

In this case, however, Christian Mercado, the husband of Ramirez-Cruz, must now plan two funerals.

His stepmother, Darla Guiterrez, spoke to NBC affiliate WTMJ on his behalf because Mercado does not speak English.

"He wants everybody to remember that she was a good person. She never did anything bad to anybody and she would help anybody out if they needed help," Guiterrez said, adding that the family did not know the suspect.

"We still can't believe it. We know it's true but we can't believe it and the whole family is taking it real hard," Guiterrez said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pit Bull Kills Pregnant Owner in California Home

Michael Jang / Getty Images(PACIFICA, Calif.) -- A pit bull attacked and killed his pregnant owner in a Pacifica, Calif. home.

Darla Napora, 32, was attacked by her unneutered, 2-year-old male pit bull Thursday. Her husband, Greg Napora, found her bloody body in the couple's living room with the pit bull, named Gunner, hovering over her.

"When we arrived, what we found was the victim lying in her front room. She was non-responsive, not breathing and suffering major trauma to her upper body," said Pacifica Police Capt. David Bertini.

Greg Napora told police that he had corralled the dog in a back room. The back room led into the backyard and the brindled pit bull managed to escape into the backyard.

The dog began to approach the police and first responders.

"He was just covered in blood," Bertini said. "There were also bystanders in the area. We were going to take no chances with that dog."

Police shot and killed the dog.

An autopsy is underway to determine how exactly Darla Napora died.

"We can't say whether she bled to death or she may have had a heart attack, we don't know," said Bertini.

A necropsy is being performed on the dog to determine if there's anything physically or medically wrong with the animal that would have caused the attack.

Another pit bull was present at the couple's home. Police said it didn't appear that the younger female pitbull was involved in the attack.

As a precaution, animal control took the dog. It's unclear at this time if that pitbull will be returned to the Napora family.

When reached by phone, Darla Napora's family was too overcome by grief to speak.

Police would not comment on how far along Darla Napora was in her pregnancy. The Oakland Tribune reported that she was nearly six months along.

Neighbors told ABC News affiliate KGO that the dogs appeared normal. The Naporas had a "Beware of the Dog" sign on their home.

Police said that they had received no complaints about the dogs in the past.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mother of Three Girls Killed in Taconic Crash Is Pregnant

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two years ago, Jackie Hance lost everything when all three of her daughters died in a gruesome wrong-way car crash on New York's Taconic Parkway. But today, she is pregnant again after undergoing in vitro fertilization in a twist of fate that she says came from a dream about her beloved daughters.

Hance, 40, of Floral Park, N.Y., announced her pregnancy just as HBO is ready to air its own documentary, Something's Wrong With Aunt Diane, on the drunk-driving accident.

The girls were killed on their way home from a camping trip in upstate New York when their aunt, Diane Schuler, 36, drove 70 mph down the wrong side of the parkway for two miles before slamming her SUV head-on into another vehicle.

Toxicology reports showed that Schuler's blood alcohol level was twice the limit -- the equivalent of 10 shots of vodka -- and she was high on marijuana.

Just minutes before the deadly crash, Hance's daughter, Emma, had called her mother to say, "Something's wrong with Aunt Diane."

Hance's girls, Emma, 8; Alyson, 7; and Katie, 5, as well as Schuler and her 2-year-old daughter Erin died instantly. Three men in the other vehicle also died, a total of eight people. The only survivor was Schuler's son Bryan, 5.

"Parenting is not something you can ever let go of, even if your children are gone," Hance wrote in the Ladies Home Journal this week.

Hance is expecting her baby in September. But psychologists say having a baby too soon after the death of a child is no panacea for grief.

Hance writes that her friends persuaded her to have another child as a way of coping with the "torture" that she has felt since her girls died, unable even to cook because it reminds her of her daughters' excitement at mealtime.

"After the accident so many people suggested that Warren and I consider having another child. They said having a baby was what the girls would want and it would give us a future," she writes.

When a child dies, many parents have a "natural urge" to have another, according to Katherine Shear, professor of psychiatry and social work at Columbia University who specializes in complicated grief.

"A lot of parents do wish to have another child to come to terms with the loss," she said. "After they've accepted the loss, it's a very natural part of life and can be a very healing thing to do."

"When they do this, it's usually with a little bit of sadness and trepidation even when they know it's the right thing for them, and I don't think we should judge them," she said. "When they make that decision, it's a hard one to make and we should primarily support them."

Other psychologists say that having another child so quickly after such a tragic loss can compound the devastation, leaving the grief process unresolved. The pain felt by bereaving parents is one of the most intense of all sorrows and the most complicated.

Hance said that she had her tubes tied after having her third child, but decided to do IVF after a doctor offered the procedure after hearing her story.

She said her daughters came to her in a dream: "I was standing in heaven and I could see Emma, Alyson, and Katie through these big gates. God would not let me inside the gates. He said that I had been given a gift from that doctor and I had to use his gift before I could be with my babies."

Dr. Richard Paulson, director USC Fertility in Los Angeles, said that having another child can sometimes fulfill the dreams of a complete family.

"It's not a replacement child, it's a reconstituted family," said "Because that person is gone, you don't replace that person," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Pregnancy Rates Decline

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Teen birth rates dropped in 2009 to the lowest level ever recorded, and the declines occurred over all racial and ethnic groups. Rates have been going down for teens aged 15-17 since 1991 and have been declining consistently for older teens aged 18-19 since 2007.

"We do have data for the first six months, not by age, but just general birth data, for the first six months of 2010 and that showed a continuing decline in births, so that suggests to us that it will probably continue," says Stephanie Ventura of the CDC in Hyattsville, Maryland. She is Chief of Reproductive Statistics with the National Center for Health Statistics.

The birth rate was 39.1 births per thousand females aged 15-19 years old. Rates fell significantly for all age groups and all racial and ethnic groups.

"Very good news because the rate had gone up for a couple of years in the mid-2000s and people were concerned that there, you know, that we might have a reversal in that direction", according to Ventura.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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