George Tiller complied with the law in reporting underage girls who entered his Wichita clinic for abortions, the Sedgwick County district attorney said Wednesday.

“What our concern was if someone was watching out for the welfare of these children,” said District Attorney Nola Foulston, noting that the law mandates reporting of possible sexual abuse against children.

“And we found that they were,” she said.

But former state Attorney General Phill Kline, who fought a two-year battle to subpoena the records Foulston based her findings on, dismissed her investigation as “superfluous and meaningless.”

Foulston said she did not address Kline’s allegations that Tiller performed illegal late abortions.

Kline had sought misdemeanor charges against Tiller in Sedgwick County late last month, before he left office. Those charges were dismissed when Foulston said Kline had no authority to file them. She said she wanted to review the records and decide on any charges.

Wednesday, Foulston determined that Tiller properly reported the cases of his clinic involving girls under 16 — the age of legal consent in Kansas.

In at least one case, she said, Tiller gave law enforcement forensic evidence that led to the conviction of an adult who raped a 10-year-old girl in another state.

However, Kline questioned the thoroughness of Foulston’s investigation, noting that he presented no evidence that Tiller had failed to report suspected child sex abuse because he didn’t accuse the doctor of it.

Instead, his complaint focused on how Tiller used patients’ mental-health concerns to justify the late abortions, alleging the reasons Tiller gave didn’t meet exceptions to restrictions on such procedures.

“The district attorney’s investigation is like looking at the moon and proclaiming that she doesn’t see any evidence that it is the sun,” Kline said. “Her investigation is nonsensical and serves no law enforcement purpose.”

Foulston said she was simply completing what Kline set out to do. Kline had said he had sought records of two Kansas abortion clinics because he wanted to protect children from sex predators, who he said might be using medical privacy laws to shield their crimes.

Kansans for Life and Operation Rescue, a Wichita anti-abortion group whose members often protest outside Tiller’s clinic, released a statement accusing Foulston of bias toward Tiller.

Most of the statements agreed with those of Don McKinney, a Wichita lawyer and abortion protester named by Kline as a special prosecutor, then fired by new Attorney General Paul Morrison this week.

“The superficial, so-called investigation by Foulston was a publicity stunt to protect Tiller,” McKinney said in a statement. “She did not investigate the charges filed against Tiller, she went off and investigated something else.”

Foulston said during her news conference that Morrison’s office would continue to look into the allegations Kline left on late abortions.

A spokeswoman for Morrison said his office was still trying to gather up the abortion records, which she said apparently had been sent to various parties across the state. Morrison has vowed to review the records and determine whether any laws were broken.

Tiller’s lawyers Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson said Wednesday that Foulston’s investigation helps show what they’ve said all along: The doctor has not broken any laws.

“Ms. Foulston’s thorough investigation,” Monnat said, “has now made it clear that, in fact, child rapists are behind bars because of Dr. Tiller’s strict compliance with the letter of the reporting laws and his cooperation with law enforcement authorities in several states.”

Reach Ron Sylvester at 316-268-6514 or rsylvester@wichitaeagle.com

Contributing: Associated Press

All content © 2007 THE WICHITA EAGLE and may not be republished without permission.

By RON SYLVESTER
Associated Press

TOPEKA – Only a few days before he loses his job, outgoing Attorney General Phill Kline’s special prosecutor asked the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday to reinstate criminal charges against the state’s most visible abortion doctor.

The special prosecutor, Wichita attorney Donald McKinney, was appointed by Kline to handle the prosecution of George Tiller. Tiller operates a Wichita clinic and is among the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions.

Kline, an abortion opponent, leaves office Monday after losing the November general election to Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison, an abortion rights supporter who switched to the Democratic Party to run against Kline.

Asked why he would file his petition days before being fired, McKinney said: “It’s like a relay. You get handed the baton, and you do your best until you hand it off. I haven’t handed it off.”

Kline alleges that Tiller performed 15 illegal late-term abortions in 2003 on patients aged 10 to 22 and failed to properly report the details about the procedures to state health officials. Tiller’s attorneys have said the charges are unfounded.

Sedgwick County District Judge Paul Clark dismissed Kline’s 30 misdemeanor charges against Tiller two weeks ago, then refused to reinstate them last week, over a jurisdictional issue.

McKinney named Clark and Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston in the motion he filed.

Foulston had sought to have the charges against Tiller dismissed, arguing successfully that Kline had no authority to file them because he did not obtain her permission first. Kline contends Foulston’s permission isn’t necessary.

“The judicial system of this state cannot function properly if loose cannon local prosecutors can hijack a case from the attorney general and then dismiss the charges to protect their friends or political allies,” McKinney said Friday.

Abortion opponents have accused Foulston, a Democrat, of intervening to protect Tiller. She has said she is only trying to protect her authority as an elected official to determine what’s prosecuted in Sedgwick County — and has asked Kline to forward the evidence he has against Tiller so she can review it.

But McKinney called her actions “extraordinary conduct” that “destroys equal justice.”

In a memo he filed with the Supreme Court, McKinney wrote, “Foulston had no lawful authority to interfere with the action of the attorney general.”

While Morrison has said he will examine the evidence involving Tiller, he also has said he won’t retain McKinney, who led a Democrats for Kline group during the campaign and has protested outside Tiller’s clinic.

Foulston spokeswoman Georgia Cole said the district attorney had not seen McKinney’s filing. Nor had Dan Monnat, a Wichita attorney representing Tiller.

“We’re not surprised that the publicity stunts of the AG and his so-called independent, so-called special prosecutor continue up to the very last minute of the attorney general’s tenure,” Monnat said. “From a legal standpoint, these recent stunts are nothing more than legal floundering on their point.”

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6514 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com

Contributing: Associated Press

All content © 2007 THE WICHITA EAGLE and may not be republished without permission.

By SUZANNE PEREZ TOBIAS
WICHITA EAGLE