Oregon City parents indicted in death of 15-month-old girl

An Oregon City couple whose 15-month-old daughter died this month of medically treatable conditions surrendered to police tonight hours after a Clackamas County grand jury indicted them.

They are at the heart of a case testing a state law that bars faith healing when it could endanger a child’s life.

Based on the grand jury’s findings, arrest warrants were issued for Carl Brent Worthington, 28, and Raylene Worthington, 25, on charges of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree criminal mistreatment in the March 2 death of their daughter, Ava.

At 8:30 p.m., the pair voluntarily surrendered at the Clackamas County Jail, said Detective Jim Strovink, a sheriff’s office spokesman. They were held on $250,000 bail each.

Faith Healing
The term ‘faith healing’ refers to healing that occurs supernaturally — as the result of prayer rather than the use of medicines or the involvement of physicians or other medical care.
But while faith healings do take place today just as they did in the early Christian church, the teachings of some churches, movements and individuals on this subject amount to spiritual abuse.
Legitimate churches and movements do not equal using drugs or receiving proper medical attention with unbelief, insufficient faith, or otherwise sinning against God.

Commentary/resources by ReligionNewsBlog.com

Television reporters soon descended on the jail’s entrance, reacting to a tip that the husband and wife would post the $25,000 apiece needed to avoid spending the weekend in jail.

Their first court appearance was set for 1:30 p.m. Monday at Clackamas County Circuit Court.

A deputy state medical examiner determined that Ava died for lack of medical care. The girl suffered from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and an infection — both treatable or preventable with antibiotics.

The parents are members of Oregon City’s Followers of Christ, a fundamentalist Christian church that has seen dozens of children buried since the 1950s in the parish cemetery south of Oregon City. Many of them could have been saved by medical intervention, according to a 1998 analysis by The Oregonian.

The cluster of deaths prompted the 1999 Oregon Legislature to debate the issues of religious freedom, parental rights and public responsibility to protect children, culminating in the law allowing prosecution in preventable deaths.

The Worthingtons are the first congregation members to face criminal charges for failing to seek medical treatment for a gravely ill child.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday March 29, 2008.
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