The District Attorney’s Office of Philadelphia has entered into the early stages of seizing 3801 Lancaster Avenue, formerly known as the Women’s Medical Society. Nearly a year after the notorious Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder of three babies and third-degree murder of his patient Karnamaya Mongar, the D.A’s office has decided to attempt to seize the building, which Kermit Gosnell still owns, under the Pennsylvania Drug Act.
If Gosnell, who is currently serving a life sentence, chooses to fight to keep the property, the District Attorney’s office will need to meet their burden of proof. According to Chief Assistant District Attorney, Beth Grossman, obtaining the property under the Pennsylvania Drug Act will be easy because Gosnell has already pleaded guilty federally to the illegal sale of narcotics. Depending on whether Gosnell chooses to forfeit the property immediately or chooses to appeal it, this process could take anywhere from a few months to a year for the D.A. to obtain the rights to the deed.
In the event that they are able to obtain the property, the D.A’s office plans on selling it to whomever will have the funds to completely replace the building. Grossman expressed that she would want the new owner to agree to demolish the building when the rights are signed over.
“The inside is such a horror show,” said Grossman. “The only way to describe (it), it’s like a rabbit’s warren. Just rooms going in and out and it’s utterly bizarre and it’s filthy. The property can’t be salvaged and also because of what occurred there, it needs to be torn down.”
Grossman raised concerns about possible medical biohazards because of the improper disposal of medical equipment and fetal remains.
“The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely,” the Grand Jury Report reads. “Scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.”
Karnamaya Mongar’s family has also filed a motion to intervene in this case in order to seek monetary damages. Mongar passed away after having been given a lethal dose of Demerol.
The Lancaster Avenue commercial corridor has been steadily growing with several businesses – including Barber Shop, Styles by Marc, Reed’s Coffee and Tea, A Part of Me consignment shop, and TaxTime Financial Café – opening up shop in just the past few years.
“Because it’s such a valuable property, the lot itself, it could really do a lot for the community,” said Grossman.
Gosnell is currently serving a life sentence after being found guilty in the spring of 2013. The building, which sits on the corner of 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue has been barren since the facility shut down in 2010.
In the state of Pennsylvania, a fetus is said to still be viable after 24 weeks in gestation. According to the Grand Jury report, Gosnell had regularly performed abortions exceeding this limit and would often manipulate ultrasounds in order to make the fetuses look younger than they were.
Gosnell was charged in January of 2011 with infanticide, the murder of Karmanaya Mongar, illegal sale of narcotics, drug delivery resulting in death, and conspiracy.
In a federal narcotics case, Gosnell pleaded guilty to selling prescription drugs from his facility where he was also performing illegal abortions.
Grossman said the D.A.’s office has been waiting to file a motion to obtain the deed until all other legal matters were out of the way.
“He’s pleaded guilty,” she said. “He’s been properly sentenced. We can now proceed with this.”
– Text, video and Images by Katelynn Luczkow