The Warren County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution this morning authorizing the hiring of a lawyer for up to $15,000 to appeal the lifting of a gag order in the case of Brooke Sklyar Richardson, the Carlisle teen accused of burning and burying her newborn baby last May.
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Carlisle buried baby case: Teen’s conversations with doctors can be used as evidence, court rules

Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 19, is accused of killing her newborn baby girl and burying it in the back yard of her parent’s house in May 2017.

The appeals court ruled Monday that physician-patient privilege doesn't apply in the case and that the teen's conversations with two doctors should be admitted as evidence in her upcoming trial.

MORE: Defense: Prosecution’s claims in Carlisle buried baby case are ‘click bait’

Both the defense and prosecution had appealed a split decision handed down by the trial Judge Donald Oda II, just days before the trial was scheduled to begin this past spring.

Oda ruled that doctor-patient privilege did not apply to anything Richardson said about burying the infant’s remains. However, Oda ruled that another conversation Richardson had with a different doctor was privileged.

Richardson's defense team argued that all of the teen's conversations with her doctors about her pregnancy or what may have happened afterward were covered under doctor-patient privilege.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell talks about case

Warren County prosecutors, however, said a conversation Richardson had with one of her doctors — that she buried the remains in the backyard, which prompted the physician to call police — is not privileged because of a doctor’s duty to report abuse, neglect or other harm to a child.

MORE: Trial for Carlisle teen delayed after judge’s decision on medical records, statements

The appeals decision came late Monday evening, about five weeks after oral arguments were heard at the appellate court located in Middletown.

“Physician-patient privilege was waived due to application of … a statute that places a duty on persons with special relationships to minors to report suspected or known abuse or neglect, where there is reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in similar circumstances to suspect, that a child suffered a physical wound,” a summary of the decision states.

Richardson’s defense attorney Charlie H. Rittgers told the Journal-News that “in all likelihood we will appeal it (to the Ohio Supreme Court).”

“We are disappointed with the decision (of the appeals court),” he said.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the decision means Richardson’s statements and reactions will be heard by jury at trial.

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.