Woman connected with Yates County midwifery case found guilty

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated the negligent homicide charge levied against Elizabeth Catlin stemmed from the death of a woman in her care. In actuality, the laboring woman in Catlin’s care was transported to F.F. Thompson, where the woman gave birth to a baby that died en route to Strong Memorial. The article has been updated to correct this error. It also stated Catlin is still practicing midwifery, which FingerLakes1.com found to be unsubstantiated. 

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A woman connected to the illegal Penn Yan midwifery practice was found guilty of felony charges last week.


Belfast woman guilty of two felonies, one misdemeanor count

Melissa Carman was found guilty of unlawfully practicing midwifery and evidence tampering, both felony charges, and hindering prosecution, a misdemeanor, according to Finger Lakes Times.

Carman, who lives in Belfast, Allegheny County, was convicted of helping Elizabeth Catlin in her unlawful midwifery practice by providing Catlin with unprescribed maternity drugs.

Catlin was sentenced to probation and community service in December in a case that drew national attention. Catlin was originally charged with negligent homicide related to a 2018 incident where a laboring woman in her care was transported to F.F. Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua. The woman gave birth there, but her newborn died while being transported to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

Related: Penn Yan midwife reaches plea agreement in 2018 case


Mennonite community backs Catlin

Catlin assisted the local Mennonite community with births for years. Carman rejected a plea deal that would have given her interim probation for a year in return for a guilty plea to a felony.

The Mennonite community has rallied around the pair. Both are certified professional midwives, but New York is one of the few states that does not recognize that certification. They have been advocating for the state legislature to update the law.

It is not known when Carman will be sentenced by Judge Jason Cook.

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


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