OREGON CITY — Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote kept his promise to reach out to an Oregon City church whose members have been prosecuted for failing to provide adequate medical care for their children.
Foote sent a letter last week to 415 families who belong to the Followers of Christ Church. The church has a long tradition of using faith healing rather than mainstream medical treatment, sometimes with fatal consequences.
“As a starting point towards a possible dialogue between the church and law enforcement, let me ask the following question: Is there an opportunity for us to agree under what circumstances parents should take their children to a doctor or hospital for appropriate medical care?” Foote wrote.
“Our goal would be to try and find ways to make sure that children of the church are safe and receive appropriate medical care. We would work with you to make that happen,” the letter said.
It is hard to say how many church members would be open to using doctors. Current and former members have said seeking medical treatment shows a lack of faith. An attorney representing the church did not return a call to his office on Tuesday.
Foote said he was reluctant to talk about the letter. “The letter was not intended as a public act. It was intended as a private communication. The real conversation should go on in private,” Foote said Tuesday.