Cult members sentenced to 90 days in jail, probation in faith healing case

An Oregon City couple who treated their infant daughter with faith healing rather than take her to a doctor were sentenced today in Clackamas County circuit court to 90 days in jail and three years probation.

The Oregonian reports:

Clackamas County Circuit Judge Jeffrey S. Jones also required Timothy and Rebecca Wyland to notify the probation department when spiritual healing methods are used.

“Your prayers should complement not compete with proper medical care,” Judge Jones said.

Timothy Wyland went into custody immediately and when he is released Rebecca Wyland will start her term. A restitution hearing is set for Aug. 29 to consider whether the Wylands should reimburse the state for court-ordered medical care.

Jones also required the Wylands to:

• Comply with all medical recommendations of the doctors treating Alayna;
• Notify the probation department of all scheduled medical appointments for Alayna and prove they attendeded the appointments;
• Inform probation officers of any significant injury suffered by any child in their care.
• The terms would apply to any child born to the couple during the probation period.

Earlier this month a jury found the couple guilty of felony criminal mistreatment for treating their infant daughter with faith-healing rather than taking her to a doctor.

Alayna Wyland

The Wylands are members of the Followers of Christ Church, theologically a cult of Christianity, whose extreme faith healing beliefs and practices have left a trail of dead children in its wake. says:

They are accused of allowing a growth of blood vessels the size of a tennis ball to cover the eye of their 7-month-old daughter, jeopardizing her vision. […]

The mass of blood vessels is called a hemangioma. A doctor has testified in a custody hearing that the growth pushed the child’s eyeball down and outward.

They are the fourth and fifth church members convicted in the past two years of crimes involving medical neglect of children.

The Oregonian notes that another faith-healing case involving Followers of Christ members goes to trial in September. Dale and Shannon Hickman of Oregon City are charged with second-degree manslaughter for failing to seek medical help for their newborn son, who was born several weeks prematurely and lived nine hours.

Research resources on faith healing
Research resources on the Followers of Christ Church

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday June 25, 2011.
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