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Indiana AG: No charges recommended in fetal remains case

Indiana's Attorney General Curtis Hill goes to a hearing at the state Supreme Court in the Statehouse on Oct. 21, 2019, in Indianapolis. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general recommended no criminal charges or licensing actions Wednesday after concluding an investigation into more than 2,000 sets of fetal remains found last year at the suburban Chicago garage of a late prolific abortion doctor whom authorities believed acted alone.

Attorney General Curtis Hill said his office’s investigation determined the fetal remains were from abortions the late Dr. Ulrich Klopfer had performed at his three Indiana clinics between 2000 and 2003 and found that Klopfer failed to arrange for their proper disposition as required by state law.

“No one is believed to have assisted Dr. Klopfer in his actions, and because Dr. Klopfer is dead, he cannot be charged with a crime or with medical misconduct,” Hill said in a statement, adding that he “does not recommend any criminal charges or licensing actions in this case.”

The investigation also found that Klopfer failed to arrange for the appropriate disposal of tens of thousands of patient health records after his clinics in Forty Wayne, Gary and South Bend closed in 2014 and 2015. Klopfer’s medical license was suspended indefinitely in 2016 by Indiana regulators who cited shoddy record-keeping and substandard patient monitoring.

After Klopfer died in September 2019 at age 79, relatives sorting through his belongings in the garage at his home in Will County, Illinois, found 2,246 sets of medically preserved fetal remains stacked floor to ceiling in that garage. Later, 165 more were found in a trunk of a car at a Chicago-area business where Klopfer kept several vehicles.

Those 2,411 fetal remains were buried in February at a South Bend, Indiana, cemetery in a donated plot during a mass burial ceremony where Hill said their discovery was “horrifying to anyone with normal sensibilities.”

“We hope the results of our investigation provide much-needed closure to everyone who has been impacted by this gruesome case,” according to Wednesday’s statement from Hill, a Republican who leaves office in January.

Klopfer had performed tens of thousands of abortions over 40 years, mainly in Indiana and often as the only abortion doctor serving South Bend, Gary and Fort Wayne. He was a reviled figure among anti-abortion activists, who held weekly demonstrations outside his clinics, sometimes blocking entryways.

Wednesday’s final report from the attorney’s general’s office said the office will retain more than 35,000 patient records found at Klopfer’s clinics and other sites until 2024, at which point they will be destroyed. Another 84,000 older patient records that dated from 1977 to 2012 have already been destroyed.

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