A Denver Planned Parenthood office and four unidentified employees are being sued for failing to recognize child sexual abuse when they gave a 13-year-old girl an abortion and birth control.
The man who brought her in for the abortion and requested the services was the teen’s stepfather and longtime sexual abuser.
A lawyer for Cary Smith, the mother of the child, who is identified as R.Z., said Friday she and her colleagues could not comment on the case.
“We must abide by our professional ethics rules,” Boulder attorney Beth A. Klein said in an email.
Ms. Smith is asking for a jury trial to determine damages for suffering and emotional distress for the child, according to a complaint filed in June in Denver District Court.
Operation Rescue, a pro-life group, publicized the complaint Friday.
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Stepfather Timothy David Smith pleaded guilty to two felony counts of sexual abuse in late 2012.
Marie Logsden, vice president of communications at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said the clinic “can never comment on the care of an individual patient, due to privacy laws and our organization’s long-standing commitment to quality and confidentiality.”
However, she said, the staff complies with all state and federal laws and are trained extensively and regularly throughout their employment. “The well-being of our patients is our highest priority,” said Ms. Logsden.
The civil suit is filed in Denver District Court before Judge Herbert L. Stern III. A review of the case is set for July 23, according to a court schedule.
In the complaint, the stepfather is said to have been sexually abusing R.Z. for seven years. On May 3, 2012, he brought R.Z. to the Denver Planned Parenthood clinic, after a test showed she was pregnant.
The clinic employees saw that R.Z. was age 13 and Smith identified himself as her father although they had different last names and she called him “Tim” instead of “Dad.”
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R.Z. received an abortion and, at Smith’s behest, an injectable birth control shot. R.Z. objected to the injection, but her stepfather prevailed.
Ms. Smith learned about all this in July 2012 when R.Z. said that Smith was sexually abusing her. The mother quickly confirmed the abuse at a hospital and, through medical records, got details about the visit to Planned Parenthood.
The complaint says the clinic workers were negligent because they didn’t talk with R.Z. about the circumstances of her pregnancy — which should have happened due to her young age — or verify her relationship with the man who brought her in.
Ms. Smith also says the clinic ignored a Colorado law requiring they postpone the abortion for 48 hours, until they had sent a written notice of the pending abortion to her home. No notice was sent, she said.
“As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ breaches of their duties, R.Z.’s sexual abuse remained concealed and R.Z. was placed on birth control, all of which enabled Smith to continue to sexually abuse R.Z. on numerous occasions for more than two additions months,” says the complaint, which was filed by Boulder attorney Jodi S. Martin, Ms. Klein and others June 20.