Fla. clinic owner arrested after botched abortion
MIAMI (AP) -- An abortion clinic owner accused of delivering a live baby during a botched procedure and then throwing the infant away was arrested Tuesday, authorities said.
Belkis Gonzalez, 42, was charged with practicing medicine without a license and tampering with evidence, both felonies, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office. If found guilty, Gonzalez would face at least a year in prison and up to 15 years.
The teenage mother, Sycloria Williams, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Gonzalez knocked the infant off the chair where she had given birth, and then scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag, and threw it out.
The clinic's doctor, Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique, had been scheduled to perform the procedure, but Williams went into labor after being given drugs to dilate her cervix and waiting for hours for Renelique to arrive, the suit said. The doctor has said he had been en route to the Hialeah clinic when he was called to treat another patient who was bleeding.
Last month, the Board of Medicine revoked Renelique's license for committing medical malpractice, delegating responsibility to unlicensed personnel and failing to keep an accurate medical record.
Williams was 23 weeks pregnant when the incident happened in 2006.
Authorities were unable to definitively determine the cause of death -- and Gonzalez's role in it -- because the baby's body had decomposed by the time it was found eight days later, said Griffith, the attorney's office spokesman.
Gonzalez was being held on $50,000 bond. A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday morning. It was unclear if she had an attorney.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)