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Woman accused of illegally practicing midwifery with Elizabeth Catlin turns down plea deal

An Allegany County woman accused of practicing midwifery illegally has refused a plea deal.

The Finger Lakes Times reports Melissa Carman of Belfast faces charges of unauthorized practice of a profession and hindering prosecution. She’s accused of helping Elizabeth Catlin deliver babies and of giving her prescription maternity drugs without a prescription. District Attorney Todd Casella says a trial has been scheduled for May.

Related: Penn Yan midwife reaches plea agreement in 2018 case

In a high profile case, Catlin was sentenced in December to five years probation and 250 hours community service for unauthorized practice of the profession of midwifery. She pleaded guilty to the single, reduced charge after more than a hundred other charges against her were dropped. New York is one of the few states requiring an advanced degree for midwives.

Catlin had provided birthing services to the local Mennonite community for years. Among the original charges against her was criminally negligent homicide after she took a laboring mother in her care to FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua. The baby was born there, but died during transport to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. The family of the baby said it did not blame Catlin, nor did they want her prosecuted.

Related: Supporters call Penn Yan midwife case a travesty, modern day witch-hunt