Doctor who treated child rape victim sues Indiana attorney general

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Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana doctor who treated a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim, sent Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita notice of her intent to sue him.

Bernard previously warned Rokita to “cease and desist,” arguing the attorney general’s claims she did not report performing an abortion on the 10-year-old Ohio victim were defamatory. She has insisted that she adequately reported the abortion in compliance with state law.

DOCTOR WHO TREATED CHILD RAPE VICTIM WARNS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO ‘CEASE AND DESIST’

“Statements that Dr. Bernard has a ‘history of failing to report,’ which Mr. Rokita indicated would constitute a crime, made in the absence of reasonable investigation, serve no legitimate law enforcement purpose,” Bernard’s tort claim notice argued. “Mr. Rokita’s comments were intended to heighten public condemnation of Dr. Bernard.”

The notice lays the groundwork for a lawsuit and allows for a 90-day period for the state to investigate or settle the claim, and then a lawsuit “alleging a tort against the state” can be brought forth, according to the notice. The total dollar amount of damages “is not ascertainable at this time, as the harm is ongoing,” the notice further explains.

Bernard contends that Rokita’s public statements have harmed her reputation and could mislead her patients about her work.

“And then we have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report,” Rokita told Fox News’s Jesse Watters. “We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure. If she failed to report it in Indiana, it’s a crime for — to not report, to intentionally not report.”

Bernard also underscored that Rokita falsely claimed she has a “history of failing to report,” pointing out that he could have checked her license history.

“Mr. Rokita either knew the statements were false or acted with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the statements. Mr. Rokita recklessly and/or negligently failed to ascertain whether the statements about Dr. Bernard’s license were true or false before making them,” the notice continued.

The 10-year-old Ohio victim became subject to a media firestorm amid the intensified national debate over abortion. About a week after the Supreme Court overturned precedents guaranteeing a national right to abortion access first established in Roe v. Wade, the 10-year-old girl crossed into neighboring Indiana to receive an abortion, according to reports referenced by President Joe Biden and others.

An Ohio law permitted to go into effect after the Supreme Court ruling prohibits abortion after fetal heartbeats are detected, which can take place as early as six weeks of gestation. The 10-year-old girl was six weeks and three days pregnant at the time, the Indianapolis Star reported. She was raped by a 27-year-old man, who has since been arrested and charged with rape, per police.

The Washington Examiner reached out to a spokesperson for Rokita for comment.

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Initially, fact-check organizations, including the Washington Post, struggled to verify key details of the story about the Ohio rape victim, leading to scrutiny of Bernard, who had been a source for the initial report. Since then, police announced charges against the alleged rapist, and reports indicated that Bernard reported that she performed the abortion.

Rokita recently announced plans to investigate whether Bernard violated state law by failing to report that she had performed the abortion on the victim. Her employer, Indiana University Health, conducted a review that concluded she did not flout state privacy laws. But Rokita has subsequently said his investigation would “remain open” despite reports that she had complied with state law.