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Ont. woman pleads guilty to defrauding doulas

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A Brantford, Ont. woman who faked being pregnant to defraud doulas and obtain care under false pretences has pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including fraud, mischief and committing indecent acts.

Kaitlyn Braun was facing 51 charges related to more than a dozen victims. She was arrested in March.

In a Brantford courtroom on Thursday, she pleaded guilty to 21 charges. Handcuffed, she spoke quietly, wearing a burgundy sweater and glasses.

Her lawyer said the remaining charges against her, including sexual assault and criminal harassment, will be formally withdrawn at sentencing next month.

While court heard more about Braun’s actions on Thursday, the reasons why she did what she did remain unclear.

HISTORY OF THE CASE

Court heard starting in June of 2022, Braun began requesting the services of doulas – professionals who provide support during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period – lying to them about being pregnant, often saying she was carrying a stillborn child.

Victims included doulas in Ontario, Alberta and Florida. The birth workers supported Braun in-person, by phone or over video chat.

Often they sat with her as she pretended to deliver a stillborn baby, sometimes screaming, crying and moaning in pain, court heard.

In several cases, the Crown said Braun “requested a massage while naked” from a doula, including rubbing her back and hips.

Often Braun obtained services from doulas for free under false pretenses. In other cases, she did not pay.

At the time, Braun was a registered social worker but unemployed.

In October 2022, Braun faked a stillborn birth over two days, asking for massages while naked and for a breast pump to induce labour, the Crown said.

A month later, she told a doula she was pregnant as a result of sexual assault. She claimed to have a stillbirth at 30-weeks pregnant and sent a picture of a stillborn baby to the birth worker.

She later said she been sexually assaulted by doctors at a hospital.

Kaitlyn Braun appears in a picture posted to social media. (Facebook)

In another case, she told a doula she became pregnant after being sexually assaulted by her brother and had a stillbirth. Afterward she told the doula she was pregnant again from another sexual assault by her brother.

Court heard one of the victims had gone to the mall with Braun to buy an outfit and stuffed bear for her stillborn child when she received a call from police about the case. The doula left Braun and the mall immediately.

Court heard the experiences resulted in extreme emotional distress for the doulas and left them mentally traumatized.

‘MIX OF EMOTIONS’

Many of the victims and their supporters were in court Thursday.

Speaking to CTV News outside the courtroom, one victim, who can’t be identified due to a publication ban, said Thursday was an important milestone.

“It's a really big mix of emotions. I think we're all feeling a sense of relief that things are finally moving forward,” she said, adding she still has some concerns.

“It looks like she doesn't have any sexual assault charges anymore, which is a little difficult to wrap our heads around.”

Ultimately she said the victims remain optimistic about the outcome of the case.

“We feel confident that this judge is taking the situation seriously.”

Braun is set to return to court on Jan. 17 for victim impact statements and sentencing.

Correction

A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Braun pleaded guilty to sexual assault. In fact, she was charged with sexual assault but pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act.

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