Friday, July 24, 2009

Oregon Jury Acquits Faith Healing Parents On All But One Misdemeanor Charge

After a trial lasting nearly four weeks, a jury in Oregon yesterday rejected manslaughter charges against Carl and Raylene Worthington, members of the Followers of Christ, a group that rejects medical treatment in favor of faith healing. AP reports that Raylene was acquitted of all charges, while Carl was convicted only on a misdemeanor charge of criminal mistreatment. He faces up to one year in jail. The Worthington's 15-month old daughter died of pneumonia after her parents merely prayed over her and anointed her with olive oil instead of obtaining medical treatment. The case was the first since Oregon's law was amended 10 years ago to eliminate religious defenses in the child abuse and homicide statutes. Oregon Live has links to the indictment and motions filed in the case, to videos of the verdict being delivered and read and to other background on the case. (See prior related posting.)