By Cheryl Sullenger
Philadelphia, PA — Thursday, former Gosnell employee Steven Massof, gave shocking testimony concerning the inner workings of Gosnell’s shoddy abortion business. He described a chaotic office where conditions continuously degraded over the nine years he worked there.
Massof has been incarcerated since his arrest with Gosnell and seven others in 2011. He is a short, thin man, whose ill-fitting green prison jumpsuit seemed to swallow his slight frame. He appeared in court unshaven, his partially bald head sporting a large square bandage covering what he dubiously told bailiffs was the result of a slip on a ladder.
Massof spoke eerily in slow and deliberate manner, almost over-articulating his words. That, along with his “scuzzy” appearance made him appear creepy and –at least to this observer–somewhat revolting. He seemed to take an odd sarcastic glee in relating the illegal activities and filthy conditions under which he worked for approximately five years.
Massof earned a degree in biology and chemistry and spent some time doing research in the field of immunology before attending medical school in the West Indies. After his graduation from St. George School of Medicine in Granada, Massof was unable to find a residency program that would accept him. He turned instead to the “bar and restaurant” industry to make ends meet.
Finally, Massof was introduced to Gosnell by a friend in the pharmaceutical industry. Gosnell offered Massof a “residency” in 2003, but failed to tell him that it was not a sanctioned program. Massoff was never licensed to practice medicine.
Massof received no pay at all for his first two weeks of work for Gosnell, who seemed to seek out those in desperate circumstances for employment, then exploit them by extracting maximum work for minimal pay. Massof testified he received a salary of only $200-$300 per week.
For the first couple of months of his employment, Massof shadowed Gosnell in his family practice in order to learn from Gosnell’s experience. After that, he began seeing the family practice patients without supervision. After Gosnell gave Massof a signed prescription pad, Massof remarked, “I got a lot more patients coming to me.”
Massof testified that he had an interest in abortion and a curiosity about it. To become more involved in the abortion part of Gosnell’s business, Massof began “helping move patients around” from one area of the clinic to the next. Later he began doing first trimester procedures and eventually took on the “second tris,” testifying that he saw over 100 babies born alive who had their necks snipped in what he said was “literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.”
During busy times, when the women were given drugs to induce contractions all at once, Massof told the court that “it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.”
“I felt like a firemen in hell. I couldn’t put out all the fires,” he said.
Massof said he quit his job at Gosnell’s clinic after a dispute with the father of Ashley Baldwin, a 15-year old girl who helped with abortion procedures at the clinic. His relationship with Ashley seemed odd and there was uneasy the impression that there was more to it than the inappropriate jesting that Massof related to the court.
“He threatened to beat me within an inch of my life,” Massof said of his altercation with Ashley’s father. “I ran away as fast as I could.”
Massof also referred to each of the mug shots displayed on the wall of all Gosnell’s employees and told the court the duties of each one.
He told the court that Elizabeth Hampton, who testified before him, was the women who would help “hold down the women” who were uncooperative during abortion procedures.
“This statement was troubling to say the least and begs the question of whether some of these abortions were forced. This is a more common practice at American abortion clinics that most people would think. We have on file statements from many women who have suffered forced abortions under similar circumstances to those described by Massof,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.
Massof is currently a Federal Prison inmate awaiting sentencing on 30 Federal drug charges stemming from his work at Gosnell’s “House of Horrors,” to which he pled guilty as part of a plea agreement. He also made a second plea agreement with local prosecutors, entering guilty pleas on two counts of third degree murder. He will be sentenced in both Federal and State courts after the Gosnell trial and could receive leniency based on the quality of his cooperation and testimony.
Earlier in the day, a teary Elizabeth Hampton, the self-described sister-in-law of accused murderer Kermit Gosnell concluded her emotional testimony, telling the court that she took the plea bargain in order to try to correct the mess that she made by lying about events surrounding the death of Karnamaya Monger.
Hampton pled guilty to perjury and faces the possibility of 15 years in prison, but will likely receive less time in exchange for her testimony against Gosnell, who is charged with third degree murder in Mongar’s death and with seven counts of first degree murder for killing babies born alive during his shoddy late-term abortions by snipping their spinal cords through the Backs of their necks with surgical scissors.
Hampton admitted she lied to the FBI when questioned during a raid on Gosnell’s clinic in February, 2010. She told agents that as Mongar was being loaded into an ambulance for transport to a nearby hospital, Hampton spoke with one of Mongar’s adult daughters. Hampton later admitted she lied when she said that Mongar’s daughter spoke English very well. Hampton said she “was storying” when she told agents that the daughter said that Mongar had taken many pills prior to going to the clinic for the abortion in an effort to self abort her 19 week pre-born baby.
Hampton later repeated that same story during Grand Jury testimony given under oath. The Grand Jury later charged Hampton with perjury.
Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon attempted to lead the jury to believe that the perjured testimony was likely the truth, but Judge Jeffery P. Minehart specifically instructed the jury that the story about the pills was an admitted lie for which Hampton voluntarily entered a guilty plea and could not be considered as factual. McMahon expressed utter disagreement with the judge and later lodged a formal objection against the judge’s instructions for the record, but outside of the jury’s presence.
Hampton is the “foster sister” of Pearl Gosnell, Kermit’s wife. That relationship deepened until Hampton became so dependent on Gosnell that she found it impossible to walk away. She began renting a house from him where her common law husband, daughter and four grandchildren lived. She tried to walk away from her job at Gosnell’s clinic a number of times, but was repeatedly drawn back, first out of obligation, and later out of threats made by Pearl to evict them from their home. To this day, Hampton and her family still reside in the Gosnell-owned house, living there rent-free.
So far, of the three employees that have testified against Gosnell, Hampton, and Adrienne Moton, have all appeared to have suffered personally and emotionally from their work at what the Grand Jury referred to as a “charnel house.” Massof, on the other hand, appeared almost emotionally detached, yet coldly remorseful. He related grisly details in a way that gave the appearance that he may have thought there was some sick humor in his horrific experiences, but that the joke was really on him.
Testimony is expected to continue on Monday with another former Gosnell employee, Sherry West, who was present during the medial emergency in 2009 that led to the overdose death of Karnamaya Mongar.
Gosnell Trial Archives
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