Michael N. Herring, Attorney of the Commonwealth of Virginia, has said that he will investigate a former employee of Commonwealth Catholic Charities (CCC) who is alleged to have illegally signed a parental consent form to help a sixteen-year-old girl obtain an abortion in January.
Herring said he will try to determine whether the person who signed the consent form had the authority to do so, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. If the employee lacked such authority, she could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor and face up to a $500 fine.
In an interview on Tuesday morning, Herring said he had decided to examine the case before being requested to do so by the pro-life group American Life League.
American Life League President Judy Brown in a July 7 letter asked Herring to investigate whether illegal activity was knowingly permitted in the incident where one or more Commonwealth Catholic Charities Richmond employees signed a parental consent form to help the Guatemalan girl obtain an abortion.
The girl is a ward of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement and was in the foster care of CCC.
Brown’s letter said the ALL was “deeply concerned about the mysterious circumstances surrounding this situation, given the plethora of unanswered questions and the air of secrecy surrounding the case.”
ALL questioned why no action was taken either by Joanne Nattrass, executive director of Commonwealth Catholic Charities, or by Bishop Francis DiLorenzo, who were reportedly told on January 17 they could not do anything about the abortion to be performed the next day.
“Who signed the consent forms? Did Joanne Nattrass know of the commission of a crime and not inform the authorities?” Brown asked.
Brown asked Herring to conduct a “complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragic event” and promised assistance from ALL.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also investigating the incident.