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Ontario woman who faked pregnancies, harassed doulas faces sentencing hearing today

ontario woman who faked pregnancies harassed doulas faces sentencing hearing today

A Brantford woman who pleaded guilty last month to faking pregnancies and fraudulently seeking the services of dozens of doulas across Ontario faces a sentencing hearing today, when victims will also share how her actions have affected their lives.

Kaitlyn Braun, 25, pleaded guilty to 21 charges — including fraud, indecent acts, false pretences and mischief — of the 52 she faced. 

She was first arrested in March after seeking the help of doulas in what ended up being false pregnancies and stillbirths, from June 2022 to February 2023.

According to court documents, Braun coerced 17 victims into giving her massages while she was naked with the intent to insult or offend them. She also intended to defraud them under the pretence of pregnancies that she knew were false, the documents say. 

Braun pleaded guilty to mischief for making a false statement to a Brantford police officer in February, accusing someone else of the offences to mislead the investigation. She has been in custody since her arrest, Braun’s lawyer, Alison Macdonald, told CBC News in an email. 

A doula is a trained professional who provides support to 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. 

The identity of the doulas in the case are covered by a publication ban. The sentencing hearing is in Brantford’s Ontario Court of Justice.

Severe impact on doulas, says association

In March, CBC News spoke to some of the doulas linked to the case before it went to court. They said the ordeal caused them severe trauma, the loss of valuable time and, in some cases, money. 

They all said Braun contacted them on social media to seek their services, including pregnancy loss support, stillbirth labour and labour. Braun would tell them the pregnancy was a result of sexual assault and she had no support from her loved ones.

The doulas said Braun gave each of them different accounts of how far along in her pregnancy she was, and said many felt compassion for her, so they agreed to work for free.

Stephanie Antunes of the Association of Ontario Doulas told CBC last month that she fears the Braun case may cause doulas to be doubtful of the traumatic events she described to them, adding trust is an important pillar of the profession. 

“For a lot of doulas, their first instinct is going to be to not believe that person. I cannot imagine anything more terrible than someone who’s truly experienced that, not being believed by a doula they’re looking for support from,” Antunes said in December.  

The email from Braun’s lawyer said the charges that Braun hasn’t pleaded guilty to, including sexual assault, will be dropped once the Ontario Court of Justice judge hands down the sentence.

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