Calling his ruling ‘distasteful,’ judge gives Ontario woman who scammed doulas 2 years of house arrest

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A Brantford woman who faked pregnancies, harassed and fraudulently sought the services of numerous doulas across Ontario was sentenced Wednesday to two years of house arrest and three years of probation.

Kaitlyn Braun pleaded guilty in December to 21 charges — including fraud, indecent acts, false pretences and mischief — of the 52 she faced for seeking the help of doulas in what ended up being false pregnancies and stillbirths from June 2022 to February 2023. 

In custody since her arrest in March, Braun kept her head down while her sentence was released by Justice Robert Gee in Brantford’s Court of Justice. She must also wear a GPS ankle bracelet and undergo mandatory counselling. She’s also forbidden to contact victims and is banned from using the internet and social media for two years.  

Before announcing his decision, Gee empathized with the doulas who fell victim to Braun.

Last month, more than a dozen of them shared in their victim impact statements how their lives have suffered immensely due to Braun’s actions, including coercing victims into giving her massages while she was naked with the intent to insult or offend them. 

“The 21 offences committed by Ms. Braun caused significant long-lasting harm to her victims,” Gee said. 

“The trauma caused was expressed eloquently by many during their victim impact statements. Many now have trust issues, it’s impacted their abilities to carry out duties in their chosen profession as doulas, some have left the profession entirely and all have suffered financially because of Ms. Braun.”

‘I am disgusted,’ says victim

doula is a trained professional who supports clients before, during and shortly after childbirth. They also help with grief and trauma around pregnancy loss, but they’re not health-care professionals who deliver babies and they don’t have access to medical records or equipment.  While doulas have certifications with different organizations, they are not registered with a regulating or governing body.

Gee said he didn’t agree with the Crown’s and defence’s joint submission asking for the two-year conditional sentence for Braun, but is “reluctantly bound” to impose the proposed sentence, given that Braun is a young, first-time offender who pleaded guilty. 

“I appreciate that many victims will find this [ruling] as distasteful as I do,” he said.

Some of Braun’s victims who were in court burst into tears when the decision was announced and later expressed their disappointment. 

“I’m really upset. I was with her for nearly a week, and I am disgusted with her lawyer and our Crown attorney,” London doula Maighen Stanley told reporters outside court.

“I honestly cannot believe the sentence they imposed and I think the judge could agree with that. He was also quite upset with what the attorneys put forward to him. It’s just really disheartening, but unfortunately his hands were tied.”

Stanley said she is receiving professional support for her complex-post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) diagnosis due to the ordeal with Braun. Although her trust is severely broken, she said, she will continue working as a doula.

“I’m not going to let [Braun] win. I am going to continue to help people and give them the best support I can. I’m not going to let her ruin it for me.”

Many other doulas said they’ve changed the way they take on new clients and how they advertise their businesses — including adding false pretence clauses in their contracts and no longer offering virtual support and free services.

After hearing victim impact statement last month, Braun also addressed her victims in court, taking accountability for the “hurt and pain” her actions caused. Many doulas said they felt her apology was insincere.

Gee also stated his concerns about Braun’s long history of mental health challenges and the risk she poses to the community, referring to a psychological assessment, which found that Braun is very likely to reoffend. While treatment will modify the frequency, it will not stop it, the assessment found. 

Gee took specific note of a public mischief charge Braun pleaded guilty to for trying to mislead the investigation by falsely accusing one of her victims of sexually assaulting her in a video statement given to police under oath.

A publication ban protecting the identities of two more of the 17 was lifted on Wednesday, leaving four under the ban.

Help resources

For anyone who has been sexually assaulted, support is available through crisis lines and local support services via this government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

For anyone struggling with their mental health, help is available through:

This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you’re worried about.

This article was originally sourced from www.CBCNews.ca