Second arrest in midwife case

Gwen Chamberlain

Another woman has been arrested in connection to the case of Elizabeth J. Catlin, the Penn Yan woman who has been indicted on 95 charges including criminally negligent homicide, unauthorized practice of the profession of midwifery, identity theft, criminal possession of a forged instrument, and falsifying business records.

New York State Police arrested Melissa L. Carman, 51, of Belfast March 5, charging her with unauthorized practice of a profession (Dept. of Education felony), and hindering prosecution (class A misdemeanor). 

A statement released by Sr. Inv. Mark Eifert of Canandaigua says Carman is “accused of unlawfully aiding Catlin with her illegal midwifery practice, in and around Penn Yan.” The statement says Carmen discussed private medical issues of maternity patients, giving advice, and offering to assist in birth and prenatal appointments.

Eifert says Carman also agreed to unlawfully provide Catlin with prescription maternity drugs, without a prescription.

Carman is scheduled to appear in Town of Potter Court March 20.

During a press call Monday afternoon, Carman declined to discuss the specific charges but called the situation a witch hunt. “What has happened with Liz, me, and other birth workers in New York State is a travesty,” she said. Carman, like Catlin, is a Certified Professional Midwife. She says she has been “in the birth world” for 10 years, and says she has been working for licensure in New York State for those who have certification as a professional midwife.

Catlin, who was also part of the press call said, “Now with two arrests, New York State has made the maternity care crisis that much worse. I beg of you all to do what you can to get in touch and try to resolve this situation, not only for the Mennonite communities but for my daughters, daughters-in-law, and friends.”

No trial date has been set for Catlin, who entered a not guilty plea in January, but her case will return April 14. She was first arrested in November 2018, and has been under a court order to cease assisting women with home birthing.