Troubled Maryland Abortion Practitioner Faces Formal Charges

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 26, 2011   |   2:41PM   |   Annapolis, MD

Troubled abortion practitioner Nicola Riley has been formally charged in connection with her role in the abortion scheme Steven Chase Brigham and his associates employed to skirt abortion laws in New Jersey.

Brigham started late-term abortions on women in New Jersey and put them in vehicles to take them to Maryland to complete the abortion process because his abortion center is not licensed to do abortions late in pregnancy in the Garden State. Riley’s Maryland medical license was suspended last September after she botched a late-term abortion on a woman at Brigham’s Maryland abortion clinic based in Elkton.

Brigham has no medical license in Maryland and Riley is accused of aiding and abetting Brigham in the unlicensed practice of medicine there. That is also the case with George Shepard of Delaware, who assisted with abortions at the Maryland business and lost his license permanently.

Now, in a new document filed last week by the Maryland State Board of Physicians, Riley has formally been charged with fraudulently attempting to obtain a medical license, unprofessional conduct, aiding an unqualified person in the practice of medicine, and lying on her medical board license application.

After Riley perforated the patient’s uterus and pulled out part of her intestine, Riley first contemplated wheeling the semi-conscious woman to the emergency room two blocks away in a wheelchair, but instead persuaded Brigham to drive them there in his private vehicle. Once at the hospital, Riley’s suspicious behavior further delayed emergency care for the critically injured woman, who was later airlifted to Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore for emergency surgery required to save her life.

Police were notified and raided Brigham’s Elkton clinic where they found 35 bodies of illegally aborted late-term babies, but not the medical records related to those abortions. The case is similar to the one in which authorities have found Pennsylvania-based abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell to have killed a woman in a botched abortion and killed newborn babies purposefully born prematurely using a technique that snips their spinal cords.

Troy Newman of the pro-life group Operation Rescue furnished with the new information on Riley’s charges and he said Riley, who is based in Utah but contracted with Brigham to do abortions on the East Coast, has attempted to conceal information from the medical board.

The report containing the charges details how Riley lied about a previous felony conviction in order to fraudulently obtain licensure in Maryland.

Operation Rescue has obtained additional open record documents showing Riley has a history of criminal problems that earned her a year at the U.S. Military Prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army.

Riley attended the United States Military Academy at West Point but records indicate she pled “no contest” to not reporting credit card fraud perpetrate by soldiers under her command and OR indicates Riley may have been involved the scheme as well. She was sentenced to serve one year at the Ft. Leavenworth military prison after which she received a dishonorable discharge from the Army. Later, Riley eventually returned to school and obtained a medical degree from the University of Utah in 2002.

The group received a redacted copy of Riley’s Utah medical license application from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing through an open records request. The 37-page document reveals that Riley submitted her application for a medical license in Utah on June 10, 2004, and was granted a license on July 14 of that same year.

Transcripts show that Riley failed the United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 three times, finally passing with only five points to spare in 2002 after nearly two years of trying. It took her an additional 15 months to pass steps two and three.

Translating her scores into letter grades, she would have passed with a D grade overall, the records show. In 2004, Riley passed her Utah Controlled Substances Law and General Law exam, with just two points above a failing score.

Riley attempted to conceal the true nature of her crimes by telling the Board that her military records were sealed due to her “top secret security clearance,” which she never had, and by indicating that her records were lost in a fire.

The Maryland Medical Board also discovered that Riley lied to gain acceptance at the University of Utah Medical School after her conviction. Riley stated on her application that she completed her tour of duty in 1992 and “left the military with numerous decorations, a multitude of experiences, and friends spanning the globe.” She never mentioned that part of her “multitude of experiences” included a year of incarceration in a federal military prison.

Despite this, Riley continues to do abortions in Utah.

“We call on the University of Utah to strip Riley of her fraudulently obtained medical degree. We have already filed a complaint with the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing asking for a suspension of her Utah medical license based on Maryland charges. Their slowness in acting to protect women is disturbing,” said Newman.

Newman is urging the public to contact Noel Taxin of the Utah DOPL and demand an immediate suspension of Nicola Riley’s Utah medical license at [email protected] or (801) 530-6621.