Judge ‘reluctantly’ sentences doula-scammer to house arrest

Kaitlyn Braun also sentenced to three years probation

A Brantford judge made it clear Wednesday he was unhappy about a sentence he “reluctantly” handed down to convicted doula-scammer Kaitlyn Braun.

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Braun, 25, was found guilty of 21 offenses against at least 17 people who support pregnant women, resulting in the doulas being traumatized, emotionally harmed and unpaid for their hours of work.

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Justice Robert Gee – who halted sentencing in January saying he was being asked to agree to an “illegal sentence” – said all of the offenses were troubling and serious with the most egregious offense when Braun leveled a sexual assault charge against one woman, going to the extent of submitting to an assault examination at the hospital and a police interview.

She pleaded guilty in December to 21 counts of fraud, criminal, harassment, false pretenses and committing an indecent act

“I do not like the joint submission,” Gee told the lawyers in the case.

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“I’m not sure counsel is correctly assessing her risk to the community. (But) I reluctantly conclude I’m bound (to accept it.)”

The Court of Appeal and Superior Court have said judges must accept joint submissions drafted by Crowns and defense lawyers unless it’s demonstrably clear the suggested sentence is “so unhinged” people would believe the justice system has broken down, said Gee.

So he agreed to a two-year term of house arrest for Braun where she will be monitored by a GPS ankle bracelet, followed by three years of probation.

Braun pleaded guilty to fraud for faking pregnancies in order to hire doulas both in person and through virtual platforms to support her as she went through the trauma of what she claimed was stillbirths, assaults and, in one case, her own death.

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At one point, the unemployed social worker faced 52 criminal charges.

The doulas she connected with – who are trained to be extremely supportive of pregnant women – lost time and money but were left emotionally scarred and distracted by their experiences.

Some doulas were called at all hours through the night to listen to and soothe Braun as she went through hours of faked contractions.

Others were exposed to her nakedness and fed stories of how Braun had been assaulted by doctors.

One doula, who was “exhausted, mentally and physically” during her time supporting Braun, was devastated when she learned all that she experienced “wasn’t real.”

Others feared for their lives, wondering if Braun was delusional or dangerous.

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Braun is under orders to get the dialectical behavioral therapy experts have said may be the only way to help her.

While a group of doulas confronted assistant Crown attorney Josh Mociak after the sentencing, Meagan Stanley, who had been weeping after the verdict, stepped out of the courthouse to face a barrage of microphones and television cameras.

Stanley spent almost a week supporting Braun and said, at one point, Braun accused her of sexual assault.

“I am disgusted with her lawyer and Crown attorney,” said Stanley.

“I honestly can’t believe the sentence they imposed and I think the judge … was also quite upset with what the attorneys put forward to him. His hands were tied.”

The Braun story has resulted in international notoriety.

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Many of the doulas connected on TikTok to warn others of the ongoing fraud, leaving a public trail that’s been picked up by dozens of media outlets. There was a major article in Cosmopolitan magazine and a team is reportedly working on a documentary, as evidenced by the cameras and microphones thrust toward victims in the waiting area of ​​the courthouse.

Braun’s defense lawyer, Alison MacDonald, pushed for a community sentence because, she said, Braun couldn’t access the kind of therapy required if she was behind bars. Mociak agreed.

“Yes, there’s a high risk she’ll re-offend. She’s manipulated people, but the bottom line is the only way she can get better is to take this type of counseling,” Mociak said in January.

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When the judge refused to accept an initial joint submission due to legalities of adding a two-year community sentence on top of her time already served, he was asked to simply ignore her year in jail – a rarity which didn’t sit right with him either.

“I also had concerns based on an assessment,” said Gee, quoting from a report that said Braun is likely to re-offend and won’t stop creating victims “given the severity of her maladaptive personality”.

He asked the lawyers how Braun wouldn’t continue to be a danger to the community, so her community sentence and probation orders became about tighter control and supervision.

During her two-years-less-a-day community sentence, she’ll be under home confinement at her mother’s home with GPS monitoring at all times.

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She’ll be allowed out for three hours each Tuesday afternoon and for any counseling or medical appointments.

During the second year of her confinement, she’ll be allowed to work but the monitoring will continue.

For the next five years, Braun is to get all the counseling her supervisor or probation officer orders, steer clear of her victims and can’t use any computer that has internet access or download any social media apps.

Even then, Gee called the sentence “distasteful” and said he wished the doulas well, hoping they would “heal and continue with their profession.”

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