(Photo: Reuters/Yong Kim)
Sherry West, a former employee at Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia abortion clinic, was sentenced Thursday to serve five to 10 years in prison for her role in a patient's death at the facility.
West pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and conspiracy, and admitted that on Nov. 19, 2009, she administered some of the Demerol overdose that killed Karnamaya Mongar, 41, at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society abortion clinic, which he owned and operated for 40 years.
After Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner imposed the sentence, West sobbed for five minutes, according to Philly.com.
"Nobody believes the truth anymore, nobody," said West, who asserted that she "treated patients like family" and "didn't mean to do anything wrong."
During her testimony at Gosnell's trial last April, West, 54, said she witnessed a baby screaming, lying on a shelf, having been delivered during an abortion procedure. She described the baby as being between 18 and 24 inches long.
West, who had been a patient of Gosnell's for more than 20 years before he hired her after she lost her job as a surgical technician at the VA hospital in West Philadelphia, previously said she didn't believe she did anything wrong during the 18 months she worked at the clinic.
Her attorney, Michael Wallace, told Lerner that Gosnell had a "Svengali influence" over his client, who was dealing with personal problems at the time.
Cheryl Sullenger, a senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue who attended Gosnell's trial last year, previously told The Christian Post that the people Gosnell selected to work for him were vulnerable, people he could control, because they had nowhere else to go and were in desperate situations.
Sullenger added that many of the women who worked at his late-term abortion clinic suffered from "depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder."
West is one of nine Gosnell employees charged in 2011 for performing illegal late-term abortions at the clinic, with two awaiting sentencing. She will, however, get credit for the three years she's already served in prison since federal and state officials raided Gosnell's clinic to investigate his illegal prescription drug operation.
Steven Massof, 51, an unlicensed medical school graduate who worked for Gosnell for five years, was sentenced in February to serve six to 12 years in prison for his role in the killing of two babies born alive at the abortion clinic.
Massof, who pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder, conspiracy, corrupt organizations and conspiracy to commit corrupt organization charges in 2011, had worked for Gosnell from 2003 to 2008, and was paid $200 to $300 a week under the table.
Elizabeth Hampton, Gosnell's sister-in-law who also worked at the abortion clinic, was the first employee to be sentenced last May. She's serving one year of probation after pleading guilty to one count of perjury for lying to FBI and DEA agents about practices inside the clinic during their Feb. 18, 2010, raid to investigate Gosnell's illegal prescription drug operation.
On May 13, 2013, Gosnell was sentenced to serve life in prison without parole for three counts of first-degree murder for killing babies in his abortion clinic by cutting their spinal cords with scissors, and involuntary manslaughter for the 2009 death of Mongar, a Nepalese refugee who lived in Virginia with her family.
James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal reported last April on Gosnell's role in the 1972 Mother's Day Massacre, when 15 pregnant women were bussed from Chicago to Philadelphia to have late-term abortions performed by Gosnell and Harvey Karman, who served two years in prison for performing abortions without having a medical license.
Taranto's column describes the device Karman and Gosnell used on the Chicago women as the same device the former used on women in Bangladesh when he traveled there under sponsorship from the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
"… basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. ... They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman's uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, ... the gel would melt and these ... things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus."
"As in Bangladesh, the Philadelphia experiment was a failure. Nine of the 15 women suffered serious complications. One needed a hysterectomy," Taranto reports.
District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case against Gosnell, his wife, Pearl, and their employees in a 2012 grand jury report that reveals Gosnell profited $10,000 to $15,000 a day at his late-term abortion clinic — not including the $200,000 he made from writing 2,300 illegal prescriptions for OxyContin and other addictive drugs.