by Steven Ertelt
March 20, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Infamous Kansas late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller escaped prosecution in a vehicular assault case when a judge ruled the statute of limitations had run out in filing it. Mark Gietzen, a local pro-life advocate, sought $4,000 in damages resulting from an April 2006 incident.
Tiller allegedly hit Gietzen with his vehicle as he was leaving his central Kansas abortion center in April 2006 causing minor injuries to Gietzen’s arm and leg.
Gietzen, the director of the Kansas Coalition For Life, filed the lawsuit in small claims court in November.
However, on Thursday, Judge Stephen Woodring ruled that the suit had been filed after one-year the statute of limitations had run out.
Gietzen file the case in part because the local district attorney refused to file charges against Tiller even though photographic evidence and an eye-witness existed. As a result, he had to take the case to small claims court.
Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue was in the courtroom during the hearing and told LifeNews.com she was disappointed by the result. She felt Tiller received special treatment form local officials who have benefited from his political support.
"This case should have been tried as a criminal aggravated assault case, and if anyone other than Tiller had been involved, it would have," said Sullenger.
In February at an initial hearing, Geitzen raised concerns that security video footage taken of the incident hade been altered.
In an effort to settle the case, Geitzen had asked to preview the security tape recorded by cameras at the Women’s Health Care Services abortion business. Judge Woodring ordered the tapes to be played at the time of trial, if a settlement could not be reached.
Geitzen and Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger viewed the evidence Tiller security guard John Rayburn produced.
They told LifeNews.com the video didn’t contain shots of what they expected to see. Instead, Geitzen and Sullenger were shown a series of computer images.
Attorney Scott Sanders, who was hired by Tiller’s insurance carrier to negotiate a settlement, told Gietzen and Sullenger that the security camera did not record video, but instead snapped photos in 3 second intervals.
However, the pair told LifeNews.com that the images were taken at as much as 13 second intervals, failing to properly record the incident. Additionally, three of the images the camera took showed the exact same timestamps, making their authenticity questionable.
Meanwhile, Sullenger said she was surprised by Tiller, who appeared in court on Thursday but came across as lethargic.
"After watching Tiller interact in court this morning, I have to question his competency to continue the practice of medicine, if what he does can be called that," she said. He seemed unsteady at times, and took an uncomfortable amount of time to process questions. His speech was mumbled, slow, and slurred."
"Here is someone who specializes in highly risky late-term abortions, who has obviously slow physical reactions and mental processes," she said.
Photo Credit: Operation Rescue