Woman gets probation for looking at another’s medical records
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | November 10,2012
Patrick McArdle/Staff photo
Kathy Tatro, 54, of Bennington, was sentenced to a two-year term of probation in Bennington criminal court on Friday.
BENNINGTON — After an emotional hearing, a judge sentenced a woman who pleaded guilty to four counts of looking at the medical records of her husband’s ex-wife to probation and 160 hours of community service, which will include talking to medical employees about the importance of privacy regarding patient records.
Kathy Tatro, 54, of Bennington, was also sentenced in Bennington criminal court on Friday to a six- to 12-month suspended jail term, two years on probation and a $2,000 fine and Judge Cortland Corsones ordered Tatro to write a letter of apology to Catherine Taylor.
Tatro was arraigned in February 2011 on a felony charge of identity theft and 10 misdemeanor charges of unauthorized access to computer records. She entered a plea agreement on Sept. 26 which called for the state to dismiss the felony and six of the misdemeanor charges in return for Tatro’s guilty plea on the other four charges.
The case was unusual because of the connections between the two women. Tatro and her husband, Keith Tatro, have been partially responsible for raising the three sons of Keith Tatro and Catherine Taylor.
Prosecutor Alexander Burke, a deputy state’s attorney in Bennington County, and Taylor raised the accusation that Tatro had looked at the records of Taylor and her three children 200 times over a period of 12 years but Tatro and her attorney, Jake Cormier, said some of those instances involved a stepmother looking at her stepsons’ records.
Addressing the court, Tatro said it was “morbid curiosity that caused her to look at Taylor’s records.”
Catherine Taylor was a registered nurse working at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, when she found out Tatro, who also worked at the hospital as an ultrasound echo technician, had used her position to access Tayor’s medical records.
Taylor was visibly upset while giving testimony at Friday’s sentencing hearing.
“She looked at my X-rays, my mammograms, my radiology reports, my labs, microbiology, emergency room visits. Anything in my file. She monitored me for years without me knowing it. … I’ll never know what information she shared about my personal sacred records whether it be with my ex-husband or her friends,” she said.
Taylor complained that the hospital was slow to act and said she had to ask for help from a variety of sources including the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, state Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, the FBI and the chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees.
Allen Gilbert, executive director of the ACLU of Vermont, who attended Friday’s hearing, released a statement calling for stronger protection of medical records.
“This case shows that the privacy of our e-medical records can be breached, even hundreds of times. This case shows that the promise that our e-medical records are secure may only be a false sense of security. This case shows that the victim of a breach may have to take Herculean efforts to have the violator identified and — maybe — punished,” he said.
Burke asked for a 30-day jail sentence while Cormier asked Corsones to order a fine, based on Tatro’s lack of a criminal record. Cormier said his client had already been punished due to what he called an “unprecedented backlash” against Tatro after news of her crime became public.
Tatro apologized to Taylor but also said she felt harassed and wondered “if I were not the ex-husband’s wife, if this would have gone as far.”