PHOENIX, May 21–The Pima County District Attorney’s Office now has jurisdiction back from the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate Planned Parenthood Tucson for deliberately concealing the statutory rape of young girls. Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall deferred review of the matter to the Attorney General’s Office, but the Attorney General now states that he does not have the statutory jurisdiction to do so.
Arizona law enforcement became involved in February following an undercover video release by Live Action. In the video, Lila Rose, president of Live Action, enters a Tucson Planned Parenthood clinic posing as a 15-year-old girl seeking an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. When Rose says her “boyfriend” is 27, the nurse urges her not to bring him to her hearing for a judicial bypass from Arizona’s parental consent requirement: “I wouldn’t take him with me, no. I mean: don’t take him.”
The footage raises concerns that despite earlier rulings against it, Planned Parenthood of Arizona may still ignore its legal responsibility to report suspected cases of child abuse. In 2002, a Maricopa County Superior Court found Planned Parenthood criminally negligent for failing to report a 23-year-old statutory rapist, instead performing a secret abortion on his 15-year-old victim.
Arizona Revised Statute 13-3620 requires healthcare providers to contact law enforcement immediately if an adult-child relationship is revealed. Yesterday, the Maricopa County Attorney recommended new laws be made clarifying that “healthcare providers” required to report statutory rape and child abuse to law enforcement include workers at abortion clinics.
After Live Action sent the unedited footage to both the Attorney General and the Pima County Attorney, the latter informed Rose that it would “take no action at this time” regarding the videos, because “as is our standard practice, when the Attorney General’s Office is investigating and/or prosecuting a Case, our Office defers to the Attorney General.”
In a recent letter to Rose, the AG Office’s criminal division states that it “does not have the statutory jurisdiction to initiate a criminal investigation” into the matter. The letter states that this determination was made after the Pima County Attorney forwarded Live Action’s materials to the Attorney General for review.
“Though confused as to why it took the Attorney General’s office two months to figure out it does not have jurisdiction, we are glad that the Pima County Attorney can now move forward with an investigation,” said Lila Rose. “We expect the Pima Attorney to work with renewed efforts to protect young girls from sexual abuse.”