Ex-Gosnell clinic worker sentenced in 'pill-mill' case

Williams : Jail in "pill-mill" case.
Williams : Jail in "pill-mill" case.
Posted: May 18, 2014

A FORMER front-desk night worker in Kermit Gosnell's West Philadelphia abortion clinic was sentenced in federal court yesterday to 2 1/2 years in prison for her role in the illegal "pill-mill" case.

Lynda Williams, 45, had collected money and accepted tips in return for handing out illegal prescriptions for addictive painkillers.

She pleaded guilty in July 2012 to distribution of controlled substances and conspiracy.

Williams, most recently of Wilmington, Del., faces another sentencing Wednesday in Common Pleas Court on the more macabre aspects of the operations in Gosnell's former abortion clinic, the Women's Medical Society.

Gosnell, 73, is the disgraced West Philly physician who ran the clinic where he regularly performed late-term abortions, where babies were routinely born alive then killed, and prescription drugs were illegally dispensed in pill-mill fashion.

He is serving three life sentences in state prison for the killing of babies. In December, he was sentenced in federal court to 30 years in the pill-mill case.

Williams, who was unlicensed, helped with abortions and gave patients anesthesia. She had pleaded guilty in November 2011 in the state case to two counts of third-degree murder - one involving the 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, an abortion patient to whom Williams had administered anesthesia and the other involving the death of one of seven babies whose spinal cords were cut after having been born alive.

Her sentence in the state case is expected to be lengthier than the one handed down yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe said Williams' federal sentence will run concurrent to her state sentence. And the judge said she would recommend that her federal sentence be served in a state correctional facility.

Williams is expected to get credit on her federal sentence for time served while she was in federal custody. She has been behind bars for three years, four months, either in federal custody or in county jail.

Her attorney, Stephen Patrizio, asked the judge yesterday for Williams to get no further prison time in her federal sentence.

Williams "came from poverty" and saw her husband killed when they were living in Chester, he said. (Her husband was gunned down on their porch several years ago and the slaying is unsolved, he said after the hearing.)

Patrizio said Williams was a victim of Gosnell's, contending she was "under his spell" as in a cult. He called Gosnell "the devil."

But the judge said she viewed Williams as "one of the cogs" that kept the pill-mill wheel rolling.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Natali told the judge that Williams had cooperated extensively in the state case by testifying against Gosnell at his trial and in the federal pill-mill case by testifying before a grand jury.

Eight people were charged in the federal pill-mill case. Two will be sentenced next week.

On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

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