Family says daughter sentenced to jail still hasn’t received cancer treatment

The Lebanon County and City Building is seen on Aug. 29, 2019. (Ian Sterling for WITF)

The Lebanon County and City Building is seen on Aug. 29, 2019. (Ian Sterling for WITF)

This story originally appeared on PA Post.

The 36-year-old woman who was the focus of PA Post story last Thursday so far has not received treatment for the late-stage cancer she is fighting, according to her family.

Ashley Menser was sentenced to 10 months to 7 years in jail by a Lebanon County judge on Jan. 22. A month prior, Menser’s doctors said her ovarian cancer had progressed so far that her life was at risk if she didn’t get treatment.

Menser was scheduled to meet with an oncologist on Jan. 22 to set an appointment for a hysterectomy. But with the sentence handed down by Judge Samuel A. Kline, she was taken into custody at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility that day. She was transferred to a state correctional institution on Monday afternoon, an LCCF employee confirmed Monday evening.

Menser’s parents remain concerned about whether their daughter’s cancer is being effectively treated.

“We’re fighting for her treatment, not trying to get off jail time,” Menser’s mother, Stephanie Bashore, said on Sunday morning. “Everyone is focusing on what her past was, which no one said it was right…just let her go to her doctor.”

Noting Menser’s criminal history — multiple arrests spanning nearly two decades for theft, possession of stolen property, driving under the influence, and at least one instance of child endangerment — the Lebanon County District Attorney stood by the judge’s decision.

Bashore said that until her transfer on Monday, Menser remained in a regular cellblock and did not receive any medical treatment. PA Post is not able to confirm that assertion. Jail officials and representatives of the private company contracted to provide medical care in the jail declined to comment, citing federal medical privacy laws.

In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Thomas Weber, CEO of PrimeCare, the county’s primary medical provider for inmates, said he couldn’t comment on Menser’s condition but that inmates are appropriately screened when they arrive at the facility. He said the company’s employees work with an inmate’s physicians whenever possible.

A Lebanon County official who spoke on background said, “There’s just nothing we can say about it. But if I could, there wouldn’t be much to talk about.”

Menser’s lawyer, Stephen Feeman, filed a petition on Friday asking the judge to convert the jail sentence to home confinement so that Menser can continue to receive treatment doctors and professionals already familiar with her case.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal