Mom accused of fooling doctors into unneeded surgeries is expected to bail out of jail Monday

Date: 2014-10-06

By Aimee Green

Attorneys for a 44-year-old mother of eight who is accused of fooling her doctors into needlessly operating on some of her children have persuaded a judge to lower her bail to $5,000.

That means Katherine Parker -- who has been jailed for more than six months pending trial -- could walk out of Multnomah County jail as early as Monday after posting 10 percent of her bail, or $500.

Her bail had once been set at $1.2 million, before Multnomah County Circuit Judge Eric Bloch agreed to lower it to about $400,000 in May. Friday, he agreed to again lower it to $5,000.

Defense attorneys Lisa Ludwig and Tiffany Harris convinced Bloch that he should drastically slash Parker’s bail, arguing that she does not pose a flight risk. They also addressed one of the reasons Bloch wouldn’t reduce Parker’s bail further at a May hearing: A deputy who would supervise her outside of jail while she awaits trial wouldn’t be able to monitor if she were living almost 250 miles away at her Grants Pass home.

Parker’s attorneys said a Portland-area stranger who had learned of Parker’s plight through her church community has offered her a home. Just to be sure that the woman and Parker are a good match, the woman had twice visited Parker at jail.

Upon release, Parker will be required to wear a GPS monitoring anklet. She also won’t be allowed to have any contact with her family.

Although a trial date has not been set yet, at trial Parker’s attorneys plan to contradict a prosecution doctor who has said that Parker -- a stay-at-home mom -- had repeatedly brought her children to Portland for medical procedures that they didn’t need.

Parker’s attorneys contend that Parker couldn’t have tricked her doctors, who are medical experts who carefully examined the children. Among Parker’s doctors was pediatric neurosurgeon and U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby.

Parker is accused of Münchausen by proxy syndrome, a form of child abuse in which a primary caregiver exaggerates, fabricates or causes a victim's symptoms.

Parker is facing accusations of first-degree assault, first-degree criminal mistreatment and other crimes. Of her eight children, two are adults and two were adopted from Ukraine. She is accused of medically abusing a son and two daughters, who at about the time of her arrest were 4, 6 and 8. Parker also is accused of tampering with witnesses by trying to influence the information that her older children provided to police and child-welfare workers.

Two of Parker's children were removed from her home shortly after police started investigating her in September 2013. The rest of her children under age 18 were removed months later. Parker was arrested and jailed in early April.

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