Hearing today on neglect charges

Knoxville News-Sentinel, Dec. 20, 2002

A woman accused of failing to seek medical treatment for her dying daughter and the leader of a small religious group face a preliminary hearing this morning on aggravated child abuse and neglect charges.

The hearing for Jacqueline P. Crank and use prayer alone as a treatment for seriously ill children in lieu of medical treatment.

Bosch has also adopted that motion. He is asking that the charges be dismissed against Sherman contending that Sherman had no “legal or special relationship” with Jessica under Tennessee law that “would make him criminally liable for her injuries.”

He wrote in his motion that examples of a special relationship under Tennessee law would be parent-child, doctor-patient and innkeeper-guest.

“This court should dismiss the charge of aggravated child abuse and neglect against Mr. Sherman because Mr. Sherman maintained no legal, recognized duty to act on behalf of Jessica Crank,” Bosch wrote. “Mr. Sherman has no familial relationship with Jessica Crank. Mr. Sherman was under no contract obligating him to tend to Jessica Crank’s medical needs. Mr. Sherman is not responsible for the disease afflicting her. As such, he is not criminally liable for Jessica Crank’s injury.”

Fox, however, countered the dismissal motions by arguing that Crank and Sherman took Jessica to medical personnel twice, so they can’t use the prayer alone in lieu of medical or surgical treatment provision.

“The term ‘alone’ means exactly what it says,” Fox wrote, “that one may not elect both prayer and medical treatment, which is at best what occurred in our case.”

He also argued that Sherman, who allegedly listed Jacqueline Crank and her children as his family on a lease, did have a special relationship with the girl that makes him liable for her neglected medical condition and subsequent death.

According to filings and testimony, Crank did not take Jessica, who had a large growth on her shoulder, to UT Medical Center on May 6, as arranged by the Lenoir City clinic. That set off a police search, and the girl was finally located in late June.

By then the tumor was reportedly the size of a basketball.

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