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Charges to be dropped in medical child abuse case involving surgeries by Monica Wehby

Portland neurosurgeon and political activist will no longer be caught up in Multnomah case.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office is poised to drop charges based on surgeries by Portland neurosurgeon Monica Wehby in its prosecution of a southern Oregon mom for alleged medical child abuse.

Wehby, now a prominent Republican activist, was never charged in the case. But several of her surgeries were portrayed as unnecessary in prosecutors’ filings against Kate Parker of Grants Pass. Wehby’s peripheral involvement drew attention as she ran for U.S. Senate against Jeff Merkley last year.

The Medill Justice Project on Dec. 23 broke the news that the charges involving Wehby will be dropped. The project on Dec. 17 published findings from an investigation of the case conducted by 10 Northwestern University journalism students led by Alec Klein, a professor who heads the project and is a former investigative reporter for the Washington Post.

Prosecutors alleged Parker “knowingly caused physical injury” to a son and two daughters with medical procedures, including surgeries, that were performed unnecessarily due to false statements made by Parker. They also accused her of raising money with false statements.

The charges involving surgeries by Wehby were among the facets of the case challenged by Medill. For instance, in an interview with Wehby, detectives told her that her surgeries were not being questioned.

In all, 13 of the 43 charges against Parker will be dropped, according to the project. They are some of the most serious charges she faces, including first-degree assault and criminal mistreatment.

Klein, in an interview, said he understands the case to be the first criminal prosecution of medical child abuse in Oregon. He said prosecutors have informed Parker's attorneys of the plan to drop charges.

Chuck Sparks, Chief Deputy of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, declined to comment, as did Parker’s defense lawyer, Lisa Ludwig.

Wehby also declined to comment, citing federal medical privacy law and the ongoing case.

For further reading, see http://www.medilljusticeproject.org/2015/12/23/prosecutors-to-dismiss-several-charges-against-oregon-mother-accused-of-medical-child-abuse/