They described how Karpen spoke in a rude and degrading manner about patients and their body types. One former worker told how he mistreated women who were heavier than he liked. While some patients were under light sedation, he would call them “cows” or “whales” in their presence even though they could still hear him. One employee accused him of charging these women more for abortions than those he found attractive.
By Cheryl Sullenger
Houston, TX — It was 2013. Kermit Gosnell had just been convicted of murder and illegal late-term abortions when Operation Rescue released its shocking report on similar behavior at a Houston, Texas, abortion facility based on eye-witness accounts of several clinic employees.
Making headlines were the sensational allegations that abortionist Douglas Karpen had twisted the heads nearly off late-term babies who survived abortions done beyond the legal limit. Yet, the credible allegations of sexual harassment and abuse also made by these same women were missing from the reporting.
It was actually the sexual harassment of female clinic employees that prompted one of Karpen’s clinic workers to initially contact Operation Rescue in 2012, followed by three other workers soon after. These women first came forward to blow the whistle on their former boss’ inappropriate and harassing behavior, and only later provided evidence of what appeared to be the murder of born alive babies.
They all told similar stories of harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior – stories that should have been believed by the Texas Medical Board but weren’t.
Another former worker agreed that he treated women he found attractive very differently than those he found less attractive.
“Dr. Karpen’s body language changes when he is attracted to a good-looking woman,” she wrote. “The way he touched them when doing a pelvic exam would make my co-worker and me very uncomfortable.”
One patient who received two abortions from Karpen also complained about the way she was treated. She noted in a 2013 written statement that Karpen spoke vulgarly to her and treated her roughly during the insertion of laminaria into her cervix. She claims she felt so violated by him that she paid extra for full sedation during the final stage of the abortion. During her second abortion, before she was put under anesthesia, she claimed he slapped her thigh and remarked that she was a “thick girl.” She later filed an affidavit against Karpen claiming, among other things, that he subjected her to sexual abuse.
But it wasn’t just the patients who were mistreated. The whistleblowers claimed that female employees were subjected to sexual harassment by Karpen.
Several of the women were uncomfortable with his sexually-explicit “horseplay.” One of Karpen’s former workers witnessed one such disturbing incident. She claims that when another employee bent over to pick up something on the floor, Karpen came up from behind her and began “humping” her in a manner that simulated a sex act.
According to another employee’s affidavit, one of Karpen’s female clinic workers approached another and asked that worker to also remain at the office when she had to work late, so she would not be alone with “the pervert,” referring to Karpen.
Most of them said they put up with the sexual harassment because they needed their jobs and were afraid he would fire them if they objected.
The former Karpen employees submitted sworn statements to the Texas Medical Board about the egregious claims that Karpen was killing born-alive babies, but also voicing their concerns about sexual abuse of sedated patients, mistreatment other female patients because of their body types, and the sexual harassment in the workplace that they insist they had endured.
Nevertheless, the Texas Medical Board completely dismissed their concerns.
A tersely-worded letter issued by the TMB on February 8, 2013, stated, “The investigation referenced above has been dismissed because the Board determined there was insufficient evidence to prove that a violation of the Medical Practices Act occurred. Specifically, this investigation determined that Dr. Karpen did not violate the laws connected with the practice of medicine and there is no evidence of inappropriate behavior; therefore no further action will be taken.” (Emphasis added.)
The women’s statements concerning the alleged murder of babies who survived abortions, as well as their claims of sexual harassment, were later submitted to the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. As a result, the Panel issued criminal referrals for Karpen with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, based primarily on the former employees’ allegations that living babies were intentionally murdered after surviving illegal late-term abortions – allegations that are now being actively investigated by the FBI.
But what was missing from the criminal referrals was any mention of inappropriate sexual conduct or sexual harassment in the workplace, perhaps because that was not the focus of the investigation, or maybe because such allegations are routinely viewed with skepticism.
However, if murdering living infants during failed late-term abortions is a believable accusation, why would the whistleblowers’ allegations of sexual harassment and abuse be deemed less credible? Each woman who came forward described her fears that she would not be believed, and it now appears their fears were well founded.
Today, with all the charges surfacing of inappropriate sexual conduct in Hollywood, and among politicians and news personalities, perhaps it is time to revisit the claims of the former Karpen employees and patient who broke their silence and all made similar claims of sexual harassment and abuse.
Despite sending signals he was preparing to retire, Karpen continues to operate abortion facilities in Houston and Dallas where women continue to be placed at risk of suffering from the disgusting behaviors described by those who were brave enough to blow the whistle.
“Karpen should surrender his medical license due to these allegations alone,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Karpen are serious and believable. If true, they should disqualify Karpen as being unfit to ever practice medicine again. The Texas Medical Board failed in their responsibility to police his conduct, and instead, became his enabler.”
Abortion facilities are perfect locations of opportunity for those prone to inappropriate sexual conduct. Indeed, such behavior appears to run rampant at abortion facilities nationwide. There is ample proof for that claim in the conviction of over a dozen abortionists for sex crimes, including rape, molestation, unwanted sexual contact with patients, and other sex-related offenses. [Read Operation Rescue’s report “Documented Sex Abuse Committed By Members of the Abortion Cartel” for the gory details – if you can stomach it.]
Still, there remains little public discussion on this uncomfortable topic.
“It’s time to believe women when they say they have been sexually harassed or mistreated by someone in the Abortion Cartel,” said Newman. “Until these allegations are taken seriously, those who engage in such appalling conduct will only feel empowered to continue it.”
The Karpen case is just one of many, but it illustrates the point that regulatory boards in Texas and elsewhere need to take a serious look at these kinds of allegations and stop covering up for the bad behavior of abortionists.
Redacted statement from Patient 1.
Redacted statement from Employee 1.
Redacted statement from Employee 2.
Redacted statement from Employee 3.