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Did attorney general shield Planned Parenthood?
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 12/13/2007 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
A former employee in a state prosecutor’s office in Kansas has accused state Attorney General Paul Morrison of using sex to try to obtain insider information about a criminal investigation being conducted by a political opponent into alleged illegal activities at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.
The accusations were revealed by the Topeka Capital-Journal in a series of articles about Morrison and a complaint filed by Linda Carter, the former administrator in the Johnson County district attorney’s office, where Morrison worked before taking state office in January.
Carter stayed in the DA’s office, working for Morrison’s political foe, former state Attorney General Phill Kline, after the two prosecutors traded offices as a result of Morrison’s election victory in 2006. Republicans in Johnson County picked Kline to fill Morrison’s unfinished term.
Carter now has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Morrison with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the newspaper reported. And in a signed statement she confirmed Morrison “prodded” her during their affair to reveal insider information regarding Kline’s investigation into possible charges against Planned Parenthood in Johnson County for alleged abortion law violations.
Kline later filed more than 100 criminal counts against Planned Parenthood, and that case currently is the subject of a grand jury investigation.
The affair, to which Morrison admitted in a statement to the newspaper, and the accusations of allegedly improper interference by the attorney general into a criminal investigation, have prompted calls for Morrison’s resignation from sources as disparate as the pro-life organization Operation Rescue to the governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, a prominent abortion supporter.
“This is not just about sex and abortion,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is about corruption manifested in the perverted use of sex and power for political advantage.
“Morrison’s obsessive desire to derail Kline’s investigations through the sleaziest of means indicates not only critically impaired judgment, but conduct that is absolutely unethical, immoral, and intolerable for a state’s ‘Top Cop.’ The integrity of the office has been destroyed,” Newman said.
“Operation Rescue has long questioned Morrison’s ability [to] uphold Kansas abortion laws, and has in the past called for him to step down. Now, in light of this new sex and abortion corruption scandal, we renew our demand for his immediate resignation,” Newman said.
Ashley Anstaett, a spokeswoman for Morrison, said Morrison has no plans to step down, and he also has no plans to speak publicly on the controversy beyond his statement to the Capital-Journal that confirmed the lengthy affair.
Morrison, with access to apparently the same records held by Kline, refused to file any charges against Planned Parenthood last summer, Operation Rescue said. Kline later filed the 107 counts, including 23 felony allegations.
“To further illustrate Morrison’s fixation over shielding Planned Parenthood, Morrison joined on their side in a sealed mandamus action before the Kansas Supreme Court,” OR said in its statement. “The abortion clinic’s suit against Kline involves abortion records, which are the basis for the current criminal charges.”
Kline, as attorney general, had wondered how dozens of abortions could be done on girls as young as 11 or 12, with not a single count of sexual assault on a child being pursued in Kansas. He also wondered whether abortion providers were following state law, especially on late-term abortions.
Planned Parenthood and Wichita late-term abortionist George Tiller used court maneuvers to battle Kline’s subpoena for their records, and Kline actually got the redacted records only weeks before he turned over the office to Morrison following the 2006 election.
Kline quickly filed a series of 30 charges against Tiller, and turned the case over to an independent prosecutor, but the prosecutor was fired and the Tiller charges dismissed when Morrison took office.
Morrison later filed a substitute case involve 19 lesser charges against Tiller, based on the records Kline obtained.
Operation Rescue noted the Carter case was not the first time allegations of sexual misconduct had been leveled against Morrison, either.
“We have to wonder, given Morrison’s pattern of sexual indiscretions, if there isn’t a receipt at these abortion clinics with his name on it that he didn’t want discovered by political rivals. That would certainly explain his willingness to go to any lengths to derail the investigations,” Newman said.
Morrison issued a statement inviting a state investigation, but Brian Burgess, a spokesman for Kline, told the newspaper Morrison probably already was aware that officials had been given the allegations earlier.
His earlier statement to the newspaper admitted the affair with Carter, and apologized for “this failing in my personal life.” But Morrison rejected her statement he pressured her to reveal information about Kline’s investigation of Planned Parenthood.
Sebelius told the newspaper that Morrison should resign if found guilty of sexually harassing an employee or engaging in “improper involvement” in litigation being pursue by Kline.
Christian Morgan, the state Republican Party chief, said the allegations involve both criminal and civil issues, and need to be resolved.
The newspaper said it learned the relationship began in 2005 and wasn’t ended until 2007. In Carter’s statement, she said Morrison repeatedly tried to get from her sensitive information about Kline’s activities regarding Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, an abortion clinic that is within Kline’s Johnson County jurisdiction.
The newspaper reported Carter also said she had urged Morrison to charge Tiller, but the two argued over the case and the argument ended with Morrison storming out of Carter’s apartment.
Carter’s statement said Morrison regularly questioned her throughout 2007 about progress by Kline’s staff in the Planned Parenthood investigation.
The grand jury now hearing the Planned Parenthood case was ordered after a coalition of abortion opponents used a 1970 law that allows the public to petition for an investigation. A separate grand jury is hearing evidence in the case involving Tiller.
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